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Top-Rated DUI Lawyers in Charleston, South Carolina

Protect your rights with one of the top-rated DUI lawyers in Charleston. Avoid a DUI conviction, lower car insurance, and keep your driver's license with expert criminal defense lawyers in a Charleston, SC court.

DUI Lawyers in Charleston

Facing a DUI charge in Charleston, South Carolina, can be a daunting experience. A specialized DUI attorney in Charleston, South Carolina can offer invaluable support and guidance throughout this challenging process. Being charged with a DUI in Charleston can have potentially severe repercussions on one’s personal and professional life.

Navigating the complexities of DUI laws and the judicial system requires expert legal assistance. That’s why getting a top-rated DUI lawyer in Charleston is crucial. Find out what to look for in a top-tier Charleston DUI lawyer as well as what to look out for in lesser-quality lawyers.

Official Flag of the City of Charleston, South Carolina

Legal Definition of A DUI in Charleston, SC

In Charleston, South Carolina, as in the rest of the state, driving with an unlawful alcohol level is legally defined and regulated under the South Carolina Code of Laws, specifically Section 56-5-2930. Understanding the legal definition of DUI is crucial for anyone navigating the legal system, whether they are facing charges or seeking to understand the law.

Legal Criteria For A DUI in Charleston

The legal statute defines DUI in Charleston as operating a motor vehicle within South Carolina while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination thereof, to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired. This definition encapsulates several key components:

  1. Operation of a Motor Vehicle: The statute applies to individuals who are in control of a motor vehicle. This doesn’t only pertain to driving; being in physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated, even if the vehicle is stationary, can still qualify as a DUI offense.
  2. Under the Influence: The law covers impairment due to alcohol, illicit drugs, prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, or any combination of these substances. The critical factor is the impairment of the driver’s faculties, not just the presence of substances in the system.
  3. Material and Appreciable Impairment: The statute specifies that impairment must be material and appreciable, meaning a noticeable diminution in the individual’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. This is often determined through field sobriety tests, officer observations, and DUI breath tests.
  4. Chemical Tests and Per Se DUI: South Carolina law adheres to the per se DUI principle, meaning that a driver with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is considered under the influence per se, without the need for further evidence of impairment.

Finding A DUI Lawyer in Charleston, SC

One of the best places to find a DUI lawyer in Charleston is by looking at professional law associations across Charleston. These are legal associations that are made up of DUI attorneys in Charleston as well as other types of legal professionals. These can be great places to begin your search for the best Charleston DUI attorney for your particular case.

DUI Lawyers in Charleston SC

Some of the professional law organizations in Charleston include:

Remember that just because a lawyer is a member of one of these groups does not mean that they are a top-rated Charleston DUI attorney. This is simply a good place to begin the search for the best DUI lawyer in Charleston for your particular case. Be cautious and ask lots of questions; only you can know exactly what you’re looking for in your Charleston DUI lawyer.

How A Charleston DUI Lawyer Can Help

There is a wide range of benefits to hiring a DUI lawyer in Charleston, South Carolina, from the initial arrest through to potential appeals. Some of the ways a DUI attorney in Charleston can help include:

Immediately After A DUI Arrest

The sooner you hire a DUI lawyer in Charleston after a DUI arrest, the better. Upon arrest, the immediate concerns involve understanding your rights and the implications of the charges.

A Charleston DUI lawyer provides crucial legal advice, ensuring that you understand your rights. This especially includes the right to remain silent and the right to legal representation. They also offer guidance on whether to submit to chemical testing, considering South Carolina’s implied consent laws.

A top-rated DUI attorney in Charleston can also assist in navigating the bail process, advocating for a reasonable bail amount and facilitating a quicker release from custody. Their intervention can significantly reduce any jail time.

Keep Your Driver License: You only have 30 days from the date of arrest to appeal a DUI license suspension in South Carolina. A Charleston DUI lawyer can help you file the appeal so that you may keep your drivers license.

Pre-Trial Preparation

Evidence Review and Case Assessment: A thorough review of all evidence, including police reports, DUI breath test results, and witness statements, is paramount. A Charleston DUI attorney critically assesses this evidence, identifying any procedural errors by the police officer or violations of constitutional rights that could lead to the suppression of evidence or even dismissal of the case.

Plea Negotiations: In cases where evidence against the accused is substantial, a skilled DUI attorney in Charleston might negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor. This can result in reduced charges such as reckless driving or lighter penalties, offering a more favorable outcome than a trial might.

Pre-Trial Motions: Filing pre-trial motions is a crucial strategic move. Motions to suppress evidence based on illegal search and seizure or to dismiss the case due to insufficient evidence can significantly alter the course of the case.

During the Trial

Strategic Defense: At trial, a Charleston criminal defense attorney’s expertise becomes invaluable. They present a strategic defense, challenging the prosecution’s evidence, questioning the accuracy and reliability of breathalyzer tests, and cross-examining witnesses to highlight inconsistencies or biases.

Expert Witnesses: Criminal defense attorneys in Charleston often enlist the help of expert witnesses, such as forensic toxicologists, to contest the accuracy of blood alcohol tests and to provide alternative explanations for the behavior perceived as impairment.

Jury Selection and Persuasion: An experienced DUI defense lawyer in Charleston plays a crucial role in jury selection, ensuring an unbiased jury. They employ persuasive legal arguments and evidence presentation to sway the jury in favor of the defense.


Sentencing Negotiations: If the trial results in a DUI conviction, a skilled DUI defense attorney in Charleston can negotiate for a more lenient sentence, advocating for alternatives to jail time such as probation, community service, or DUI education programs.

License Reinstatement: Post-conviction, the focus shifts to mitigating the impact of license suspension. A DUI lawyer in Charleston guides clients through the process of license reinstatement, ensuring compliance with all requirements such as ignition interlock devices and fines.

During Appeals and Onward

Filing an Appeal: Should there be grounds for appealing a DUI conviction due to legal errors during the trial or other procedural issues, an experienced Charleston DUI attorney navigates the appellate process. This involves preparing and filing comprehensive appeal documents, and adhering to stringent deadlines.

Oral Arguments in Appellate Court: In the appellate court, the DUI attorney presents oral arguments, challenging the trial court’s decisions and advocating for the reversal of the conviction or for a new trial.

DUI Arrests in Charleston

As of early 2024, we haven’t been able to source reliable statistics on DUI arrests in Charleston. That being said, the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services has statistics on DUI-related car wrecks.

During 2021, there were 80.87 DUI crashes per 100,000 residents of Charleston. The population of the Charleston metro area at the time was 413,024. This translates to 334 car wrecks involving someone driving under the influence of alcohol.

DUI Attorneys in Charleston SC

DUI Courthouses in Charleston

As of 2021, the city of Charleston, South Carolina has just over 151,000 residents within the city limits. Being of moderate size, Charleston only has a few courthouses that hear DUI cases.

Some of the DUI courthouses in Charleston include:

City of Charleston Municipal Court


Charleston Municipal Courthouse
180 B Lockwood Boulevard
CharlestonSC 29403

City of Charleston Municipal Court in Charleston South Carolina


(843) 724-7460


City of Charleston Municipal Court Website

North Charleston Municipal Court


North Charleston Municipal Courthouse
2500 City Hall Lane
North Charleston, SC 29406

North Charleston Municipal Court in Charleston South Carolina


(843) 740-2601


North Charleston Municipal Court Website

Mt. Pleasant Municipal Court


Mt. Pleasant Municipal Courthouse
100 Ann Edwards Lane
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464

Mt. Pleasant Municipal Courthouse in Charleston South Carolina


(843) 884-6796


Mt. Pleasant Municipal Court Website

More South Carolina DUI Lawyer Resources

If you don’t need a DUI lawyer in Charleston, we also have statewide listings for DUI lawyers in South Carolina. Read our helpful and informative articles below to find a DUI lawyer near you. Also, you can call 1-888-839-4384 anytime to schedule a free consultation.