Posts Tagged With: dui

Stricter DUI Laws in SC?

South Carolina ranks among the top of states for DUI related accidents. The number of DUIs in Myrtle Beach is particularly high which can be attributed to the tourist industry locally.

Emma Longstreet was killed last year on New Years Day in a drunk driving accident. Her parents are fighting today to get Emma’s law passed. The law would require a sobriety ignition test, if you blow above a .02, you won’t be able to start your car. The law also would include stricter penalties for repeat offenders. For more information on the tragic death of Emma Longstreet and Emma’s law, check out:

Most people I have met admit that they have driven drunk at one point in their lives. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means, you made a bad mistake. Fortunately, the law recognizes this and your punishment for a DUI can be mitigated with counsel. If you go up against the law by yourself, you may face the worst case scenario penalties. However, if you contact Daniel Selwa, the opposite may result. Contact Daniel Selwa today for a free consultation regarding your case.

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The Legal Process of DUIs

superbowlThis NFL season was full of surprises ranging from the referee lockout to rookie talents like Andrew Luck, and Robert Griffin III, to quarterback changes like Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick. What did you do celebrate the end of this NFL season along with Superbowl XLVII? In the Myrtle Beach Area, a lot of local bars advertised their Superbowl specials like Louie’s at Broadway at the Beach. Did you go out and partake in the Superbowl activities at a hot local spot? Hopefully, if you did, you made to it to the bar and home safely without any negative encounters with law enforcement. But if you didn’t, your local attorney Daniel Selwa is here to help you.

As you may know, a traffic stops begins with law enforcement’s reasonable suspicion that a law has been or is being violated. If the police officer stops based on reasonable suspicion that a person is driving under the influence, he will likely conduct a field sobriety test. For more information about the basics of a DUI, visit my earlier blog entry:

But what happens after you are arrested on DUI charges? After the arrest, you are usually taken to the police station and booked. Booking includes the process where law enforcement takes your personal information, your photograph, your fingerprints, information relating to the arrest and other pertinent information.  After the booking, you will likely be placed in a holding cell or jail. Then, you will be given a pre-arraignment release through a bail proceeding. The bail proceeding allows the DUI suspect to post money in exchange for his release on the condition that you will attend all upcoming court proceedings regarding your case.

After the arrest, the booking, and the bail proceedings, arraignment takes place.  During arraignment (only applicable to 2nd offenses and above), you will be placed in front of a criminal court judge and you will be confronted with the charges against you and advised of your right to an attorney. During this stage, you may choose to plead guilty to the charges and at that point the proceedings will cease. But, you might choose to plead not guilty if the evidence against you is weak and you have a viable defense. It is also possible at this stage that a plea bargain may be available that would be favorable. Attorney Daniel Selwa can help you determine whether it is in your best interests to plead guilty or not guilty at this stage and whether you should pursue defending against the charges further.

As you can see, the legal process can be a lengthy process, but with an attorney, the legal process may end rather quickly with a positive result for you. Imagine only having to serve probation time when you were facing prison time or imagine the DUI charges being dropped against you completely.  You might wonder what if you don’t take advantage of your constitutional right to counsel, don’t wonder what if, and speak to Daniel Selwa today.

Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI, Traffic Tickets | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Intoxication Manslaughter: Dallas Cowboys

There are almost 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving every day.  Every day in ImageAmerica, another 28 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. Interestingly enough, in those fatal drunk-driving accidents, the driver often survives while accompanying passengers do not. But still, there are circumstances in which people do survive these horrific accidents but they survive with life altering injuries sustained from the accident. If the driver survives, he has to live with the guilt and pain caused by his actions of getting behind the wheel after drinking. In addition, the driver has to face the criminal law system for his actions, his actions could lead to suspension of his driver’s license, probation, community service, and worst of all, significant jail time.  The drunk driver who causes death to another will most likely face involuntary manslaughter charges and all of the above criminal law penalties could result if he is convicted

The most common charge for death resulting from a drunk driving accident is felony DUI, however sometimes jurisdictions at the behest of that jurisdiction’s prosecutor can charge involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is defined as the unlawful killing of another without malice aforethought. Malice aforethought means the actor did not intentionally cause harm to another but the harm resulted from his recklessness or negligence. The state of South Carolina may charge you with the equivalent of involuntary manslaughter and that is reckless homicide.  The elements of the crime are basically the same; it is defined as the driving of a vehicle in reckless disregard of the safety of others that results in the death of the victim. This is a felony and penalties could reach up to 10 years of jail time, fines of up to $5,000 as well as a revocation of one’s driver’s license for 5 years.

You might remember the Nick Hogan case; Nick Hogan was 20 years old when he was involved in a drunk driving accident that nearly killed his best friend John Graziano. He was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and his best friend was riding without his seatbelt as a passenger in Nick’s car. Subsequently, Nick was charged with reckless driving involving serious bodily injury amongst other charges. After serving just under six months in jail for his crime, Nick was released early for good behavior. But, Nick must still serve out his 5 years of probation and 500 community service hours. The accident left John Graziano, a war veteran, in a semi conscious state. John Graziano will require around the clock care for the rest of his life. Perhaps equally as sad, Nick Hogan must live with the pain and guilt for the rest of his life. In an interview, following his release from prison, Nick tells Good Morning America that “some mornings it is hard for him to wake up” and “it’s hard to be positive every day when there’s something so horribly devastating.”

Today, America mourns the loss of Jerry Brown, a Dallas Cowboys practice squad linebacker. He was tragically killed on Saturday morning around 2:00am when the vehicle he was riding in hit a curb and flipped at least once. Teammate Josh Brent was driving the vehicle when the accident occurred.  Josh Brent was intoxicated at the time of the accident and this wasn’t his first run in with the law involving drunk driving. Josh Brent is being charged with intoxication manslaughter. Josh Brent recently released a statement saying, “I am devastated and filled with grief.” He further commented by saying, “I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life.”

It seems apparent that both Nick Hogan and Josh Brent did not mean to cause any harm to their friends that were injured or killed in these accidents. Both of these drivers undoubtedly could have afforded a cab ride or even a limo ride. But, both of these drivers made the unfortunate and heartbreaking mistake to get behind the wheel and drive while intoxicated. Sadly, it happens all too often, and plenty of Americans are guilty of making this mistake at one point in their lives. It’s not to say it makes you a bad person, but that decision to drive while intoxicated could change your life. If you have made the same mistake, as did Nick Hogan and Josh Brent, you need a compassionate lawyer who will understand the unfortunate result of the accident. Daniel Selwa is an experienced criminal law attorney who is not only compassionate but also well equipped to handle your DUI case involving serious bodily injury to another. Contact Daniel Selwa today for your free consultation.

Categories: Criminal Defense, DUI, Wrongful Death | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Arresting Officer: How much have you had to drink tonight?

Have you been arrested on suspicion of a DUI? You are not alone, reports show that in 2010, over 1.41 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Due to the growing trend of DUI arrests, law enforcement and Courts alike are cracking down on drunk driving. Unfortunately, the pressure to make DUI arrests has resulted in some innocent people facing DUI charges. Even if you were drinking and driving, there are mitigating factors, which could result in the DUI charges against you being lessened or dropped altogether.

DUI laws make it unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle if the driver’s ability to safely drive has been impaired by the effects of drugs or alcohol or the driver is intoxicated at a level above the established BAC (blood alcohol concentration). In South Carolina, if you are 21 or older, it is against the law to drive with a BAC above .08%. Simply being in an accident can give law enforcement reasonable suspicion to investigate the accident further. The investigation may take form in temporarily detaining the motorists involved in the accident. At that time, law enforcement officers may question the drivers and passengers about whether any drinking has been involved. If the investigating officer then believes the driver has been drinking, the officer has probable cause to arrest the driver. The following link gives an example of two drunk driving cases:

A DUI conviction may carry criminal penalties including fines, jail time, probation, and community service. In addition to the listed criminal penalties, your license could be immediately suspended. A person convicted of a DUI or a DUAC will be required to get SR-22 insurance (which can be expensive) and be required to complete ADSAP (Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program) before a license will be reissued.  The nature of the DUI charges against you depends on many factors including your prior convictions, the severity of the offense, and the level of intoxication and whether the offense caused injury or death. A felony DUI is typically imposed when there has been great bodily injury or death to another. A felony DUI can result in extensive jail time and hefty fines as well as license suspension or revocation.

Give yourself the best chance at fighting your DUI by contacting attorney Daniel Selwa today. Daniel Selwa has the skills and experience that will allow him to thoroughly defend your case.

Categories: DUI | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Facing DUI charges? Know your rights!

Many people mistakenly believe they must comply with all of law enforcement’s requests.  I am here to tell you that you do have rights that allow you to refuse to comply with the law enforcement’s requests to submit to field sobriety tests when you are pulled over for a DUI. You also have rights after a DUI arrest that allows you to contest the DUI charges.

If you are pulled over for a DUI, the police officer must have reason to believe you have been drinking. He may acquire probable cause that you have been drinking based on several indicators including: slow responses to traffic signals, headlights off, turning abruptly or illegally, stopping inappropriately, driving into opposing or crossing traffic, or braking erratically. Note: speeding is not a DUI indicator. Your DUI charges may be dropped if the police officer lacked probable cause to pull you over.

The attending police officer must inform you of your Miranda rights. Most importantly, your Miranda rights include: the right to remain silent, the right to appoint counsel, and the right to have counsel present during questioning. Essentially, this means you don’t have to tell the police officer what bar you just left or how much you have had to drink. You can request an attorney immediately and all questioning must cease. The only information you must give the police officer is information relating to your identification and vehicle such as your driver’s license and insurance.

You also have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. Scientific studies have questioned the accuracy of field sobriety tests. People who are not under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol often have a hard time passing field sobriety tests. Nonetheless, police officers often use field sobriety tests to prove intoxication. By declining to engage in field sobriety tests, you are simply giving the prosecution less evidence to convict you on DUI charges.

Even if the police officer did have probable cause to pull you over, it is quite possible the investigation was conducted in an unlawful manner. After your DUI arrest, you are entitled to a jury trial if you so choose. At trial, you are afforded the right to challenge certain factors including the following: whether or not you were lawfully stopped ad detained, the period of time between arrest and testing, whether or not you were informed of your rights, whether you consented to the alcohol testing and whether the machine was working properly. You may also challenge the DUI charges based on a law unique to South Carolina. South Carolina law requires all DUI arrests to be videotaped. The recording must begin from the moment the police officer pulls you over and must continue until he has completed the arrest. If the arresting officer fails to record the submission of your breathalyzer test and/or the field sobriety test, then you may be able to get the evidence of the videotape suppressed all together and possibly a lighter sentence.

If you are facing DUI charges, contact Daniel A. Selwa, II, immediately. You have constitutionally protected rights during the DUI stop as well as after the stop and DUI attorney Daniel A. Selwa, II can help ensure your rights remain protected. Protecting your rights can mean a lesser sentence or a drop of DUI charges completely.

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Proposal could boost Horry County’s DUI conviction rate – Top News –

This will never happen but I agree with the view…its not a loophole, its a training issue. If police officer’s do it right, there is nothing I can do for a person charged with DUI to get him or her out of it.  Police officers need more training on Driving Under the Influence arrests if they intend on making more convictions.

If you have been charged with DUI or DUAC, call Daniel A. Selwa, II, immediately.

Proposal could boost Horry County’s DUI conviction rate – Top News –

Categories: Driver License, DUI | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Driver License Problems? Here’s your solution.

SCDMV will hold the 2012 Driver Suspension Eligibility Week for drivers with certain license suspensions March 5-9, 2012 in all offices across the state. Services will also be available in six designated offices open on Saturday, March 10th. During Driver Suspension Eligibility Week, South Carolina drivers who have lost their licenses for suspensions included in the program may be able to reduce or clear the remaining time for their suspension. To learn more about the program, click here.

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Categories: Driver License, DUI, DUS, Habitual Offender, Points Suspension, SC DMV | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Myrtle Beach DUI Lawyer

If you have been charged with a DUI in Myrtle Beach, you need a Myrtle Beach DUI attorney who knows DUI law as it applies to the state and county in which you were arrested.

Too often, people accused of driving under the influence simply plead guilty without knowing their rights. Being arrested for a DUI does not mean you are guilty of a DUI charge. That’s why it’s important to have a knowledgeable, experienced and skilled Myrtle Beach DUI attorney on your side. Your Myrtle Beach DUI attorney will ensure that you are aware of your rights and options in the legal process and he or she will fight in your corner.

Not every Myrtle Beach attorney is a DUI specialist, so make sure to choose your lawyer with care. An attorney that specializes in DUI law will be able to devote more personal attention to your case.

Each state has unique DUI laws and it is up to your DUI attorney to not just be familiar with these laws, but to know these laws backwards and forwards. Only the most experienced DUI attorney will get you the best results.

Attorneys who specialize in DUI cases can:

  • Determine whether the breathalyzer or alcohol test you took was faulty
  • Have access to specialists and medical doctors
  • Have access to former prosecutors
  • Have access to police officers whose advice and testimony could aid your case
  • Be well-established in the state or county in which you were arrested
  • Have a good working knowledge of the judges and prosecutors in the county

If you have been accused of a DUI, don’t hesitate and Don’t wait. Visit our website to schedule a free consultation today.

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