5 Things You Must Do After a DUI Arrest in Spartanburg (or anywhere else in South Carolina)
You’re walking out of the front door of the Spartanburg County Detention Center. You’re exhausted, you’re hungry, you’re anxious, and you have a wad of folded up paperwork in your hand and you don’t know what any of it means.
After you get some rest and clean up, what do you need to do next?
1. Map out your day leading up to when you came into contact with police.
Write down as much of your day as you can remember. When did you wake up? Where did you go? What did you eat? What did you drink? Who were you with? When did you leave? Where were you going?
The more information your DUI attorney has about your entire day – not just what happened when you got pulled over – the better they will be able to understand what you’re up against. Be specific. It’s OK if you don’t remember everything, but “I had three IPAs and a shot of Fireball over four hours, then I went about a mile east on Main Street” is going to be more helpful than “I had a couple drinks and I was on that road kind of near that gas station in Spartanburg.”
If you posted on social media during the day, or if you have location history activated on your cell phone, that might help you nail down specifics.
2. Write down everything you remember about the traffic stop itself.
Step by step, your DUI lawyer will need to know what happened that led to the officer’s decision to arrest you. The stop and the investigation should be on video, but you might be able to remember details that don’t get captured by the camera, and your DUI attorney will want to know as much as possible early on so they can advise you on what to expect going forward.
Did the officer say why they stopped you? How long did it take before you were asked out of the car? Were you talkative or did you mostly stay silent? Did they ask if you had anything to drink? What exactly did you say? What did they make you do when you go out of the car? Were any other officers there? What were they doing?
3. Determine your driver’s license status.
If you are arrested for DUI in Spartanburg (or anywhere else in South Carolina), you should be asked to provide a breath sample before being booked into jail. If you refuse to blow, or if you blow .15 or above, they should serve you with a Notice of Suspension, which explains that your driver’s license is administratively suspended.
Plenty of people walk into my office and do not realize that their license has been suspended. Jail is stressful, the breath test process is confusing, and the instructions the officer is supposed to read you will sound like legal gibberish whether you’ve been drinking or not.
So, check and see if there’s a Notice of Suspension among your paperwork. A separate Notice of Suspension is supposed to be mailed to the address on your driver’s license within a few days as well.
Do you have an out-of-state driver’s license? South Carolina can’t directly suspend your out-of-state license because South Carolina didn’t issue it. But they can suspend your privilege to use that out-of-state license on the roads of South Carolina. And then they can tell your home state about it. And then your home state might suspend your license based on its laws.
The good news is that there is a way to appeal the Notice of Suspension you may have received, and you can get your driving privileges restored while you’re waiting for that appeal to be heard. But your lawyer will need that Notice of Suspension paperwork to get that done for you. Speaking of which…
4. Gather your paperwork.
That wad of papers you were holding when you walked out of the Spartanburg County Detention Center? Don’t lose any of it. Unfold them, smooth them out, and see if you have the following:
- “Breath Alcohol Analysis Test Report.” Even if you refused to blow, the officer who was with you at the breath test machine should have handed you a piece of paper with some key details about your arrest. And if you did blow, this will tell your DUI lawyer what the result was.
- “Advisement of Implied Consent Rights.” This is the sheet the officer should have read to you, word-for-word, which explains what will happen to your driver’s license based on the breath test. If the officer did not give you a copy of what they were reading, that might help your case.
- “Notice of Suspension.” You may or may not have received one of these, but if you did, be sure to save it.
- Citations and warrants. Each charge that the officer filed against you will either have a corresponding citation or arrest warrant. These documents contain key information that your DUI attorney will want to know from the beginning. Pay close attention to where it tells you your court date and court location (and if you have multiple charges, you may have court in more than one location). Where you have court and when you have court are the first things I want to know when someone calls my office looking for a DUI lawyer, so be sure to find that information, and go ahead and put it in your calendar.
- Bond paperwork. Whether you went through a bonding company or were released by a judge “on your own recognizance,” you should have some other paperwork which will tell your DUI lawyer whether you have any special conditions of release. This paperwork may also tell you your court date and court location if you can’t find it elsewhere.
You might have other paperwork too, like property inventory sheets, or something about your car being towed. When you go for a consultation with a DUI attorney, bring everything – we can sort through it and make copies of what we need and separate out what we don’t. But look for the above items in particular when you are gathering your paperwork.
5. Contact a DUI lawyer.
You need a lawyer. Even if you think you have no chance in court based on what you remember, South Carolina has unique DUI laws that potentially give every case a chance. There are technical requirements and very specific steps that officers have to follow at each stage of the investigation, and DUI attorneys know what to look for that may help you.
Do not just go to court and plead guilty. Most DUI lawyers offer free consultations, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t start making some calls.
You do not want to rush this process. There are multiple attorneys in Spartanburg who regularly represent people charged with DUI, but no one is going to be a perfect fit for every case. It’s OK to call multiple attorneys and get a sense of who you are most comfortable with.
That being said, you do want to get started as soon as possible. Depending on where you have court, your first court date might come up in just a couple of weeks. If you received a Notice of Suspension, there is a strict 30-day deadline to file for the appeal. DUI cases sometimes drag out in court for more than a year, but it’s important to get someone on your side early in the process, so make it a priority and start calling around.
While you’re here, I make it easy to set up a free consultation with me through my website. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to complete my free consultation form. I’ll receive an email as soon as you send it, and I’ll contact you as soon as I can to discuss your case further with you.