Brady Vannoy DUI Defense
I was extremely fortunate to learn from one of the pioneers of national DUI Defense. While employeed at the Joye Law Firm, I attended the 2008 National College for DUI Defense’s Summer Conference in Cambridge, Massachussets along with other conferences where DUI defense was the topic of discussion. I remain active in the South Carolina Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. I am also the chair of the Berkeley County Bar’s Criminal Defense Section.
Every client I interview in a DUI case receives a free interview and case evaluation. If retained, I take that person’s paperwork and open a file and begin the process of defending that individual. Normally, this includes the initial step of filing discovery motions, requesting adminstrative hearings and temporary driving privileges (if applicable), and protecting court appearances.
I take pride in taking a very personal approach to client care. I consider myself very accessable to answer all my client calls and have a policy of returning all calls within 24 hours. What everyone needs to understand is that DUI cases are “opinion based offenses”. They are extremely subjective for the most part and there are very few that possess a “smoking gun”.
I take pride in defending DUI cases. If you have questions about a DUI or any other legal matter, please contact my office for a confidential interview.
General Information on SC State DUI Defense
First off, in South Carolina, it is not unlawful to drive a vehicle after consuming alcohol. Our DUI law states that it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants to such an extent that one’s mental and physical faculties are materially and appreciably impaired to such a degree that they cannot safely operate a motor vehicle. In essence, this means that an officer has to make a personal opinion as to whether you are impaired before making an arrest. We do have an offense in this State that penalizes for an “unlawful alcohol concentration” but it is a separate and distinct offense than DUI. So, how does an officer know if someone is impaired?
The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. A traffic stop is a “seizure” for purposes of the 4th Amendment and therefore must have a Constitutional basis. Before one can be arrested for DUI, the officer has to make a personal decision that there is probable cause that the accused is materially and appreciably impaired. However, it should be noted that probable cause is not reasonable doubt and that the burden of probable cause is far below the burden of proof required to convict.
Despite popular belief, in South Carolina there are no “probable cause breath tests”. In some states, law enforcement has portable breath test devices to help determine if someone is “over the limit” and/or impaired. In South Carolina an accused is offered a breath test after they are arrested. Officers use “field sobriety tests” to determine whether or not probable cause exists to make an arrest. Based on one’s performance of these tests, along with other factors such as slurred speech, red glassy eyes, and others, officers make a personal determination that the subject is impaired. There are many details involved in field sobriety testing and guidelines that should be followed. I discuss with all my clients the details of how officers are supposed to administer these tests and why the failure to follow the correct guidelines could affect the ending results.
DUI Breath Test in SC
In South Carolina, citizens are offered the right to refuse the breath test if they wish. If they refuse, our State has an administrative penalty of a six month license suspension. If one provides a breath sample of .15% or greater, they receive a one month suspension. What most do not realize is that, regardless of whether they refuse or blow .15% or greater, that person is entitled to a temporary license that allows them to drive unrestricted in this State pending the outcome of the administrative hearing (which is scheduled once proper paperwork is submitted).
I consider breath testing a questionable science. Theoritically, the Datamaster machine takes deep lung air, measures the amount of ethanol in the lung air, then converts that amount, via a mathmatical formula, into a blood alcohol percentage. If you have questions regarding your breath sample or your arrest, I will discuss many of the details with you in a confidential free interview.
After the Arrest
Following an arrest for DUI, most people are scared, angry, and frustrated to say the least. They are frustrated with the bond process and uncertain as to what will happen next. Officers are supposed to issue a Uniform Traffic Ticket citing the person for a violation of S.C. Code Ann. Sec. 56-5-2930. They should also be given an initial court date. In most cases, I interview potential clients prior to this court date and then, if retained, protect my clients from attending these dates. Many times individuals either refuse the breath test or provide a sample of .15% or greater. If so, they have time sensitive deadlines they must meet in order to receive a temporary driving privilege. It is imperative that all should read the paperwork given to them very carefully, specifically the Notice of Suspension (if they receive one), to understand exactly what is needed to obtain a driving privilege. I discuss these issues in detail with all my clients.
Criminal Penalties for DUI If Convicted
The penalties for a DUI conviction can be quite costly and life changing. As of October 1, 2014, those convicted of DUI now face ignitition interlock devices installed in vehicles, SR-22 Insurance, criminal records, fines, potential jail sentences, and Alcohol Drug Safety Action Program (“ADSAP”). I personally discuss the penalities of DUI with each potential client I meet with. If you have questions regarding the penalties of a DUI charge, please contact me.
If you have been arrested for DUI or any other criminal offense, please contact me today for a confidential interview and case evaluation.