Do I need a lawyer for a first time DUI?

December 6, 2023 | Chris Fedalei
Do I need a lawyer for a first time DUI?


DUI charges are levied when a person is operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and their faculties are impaired, making safe driving difficult. Additionally, driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration is considered a violation. Understanding the gravity of these charges is fundamental in navigating legal proceedings effectively.

Engaging a first-time DUI lawyer in Greenville is crucial when entangled in the justice system. These individuals are pivotal in explaining charges, consequences, and legal processes. They can provide representation during administrative and criminal hearings, ensuring that clients are well informed and supported. A skilled attorney strives to secure a favorable outcome, emphasizing the importance of professional legal counsel.

At Fedalei & Reid Law LLC, we go beyond traditional legal representation. We are compassionate advocates who take the time to understand our clients, developing personalized strategies tailored to their unique situations. Simultaneously, we are aggressive defenders, presenting compelling arguments in legal proceedings. Our lawyers leverage their knowledge and skills to protect our clients' best interests and driving privileges.

Take the first step in building your defense by scheduling a free consultation with a Greenville first-time DUI lawyer at our firm. Call (864) 668-1661 today.


South Carolina's DUI laws, as outlined in S.C. Code of Laws §§ 56-5-2930 and 56-5-2933, are stringent. The critical aspects of these laws revolve around driving while faculties are materially impaired by alcohol and/or drugs or operating a vehicle with an alcohol concentration limit of 0.08 or more.

Being convicted of a DUI offense carries substantial consequences, even if it's a first-time violation.

For first-time offenders, penalties are tiered based on BAC levels:

  • BAC less than .10:
    • Fine of $400
    • Incarceration for 48 hours to 30 days
    • Court may replace the 48-hour minimum with 48 hours of public service employment
  • BAC at .10 but less than .16:
    • Fine of $500
    • Incarceration for 72 hours to 30 days
    • Court may replace the 72-hour minimum with 72 hours of public service employment
  • BAC of .16 or more:
    • Fine of $1,000
    • Incarceration for 30 to 90 days
    • Court may replace the 30-day minimum with 30 days of public service employment

For anyone convicted of a first-time DUI, participation in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program is also mandatory. The individual is responsible for the costs of the recommended services following an alcohol and drug abuse assessment.

A first-time DUI conviction can also result in driver’s license suspension as follows:

  • Convicted and refused a breath test:
    • Driver’s license suspension for 6 months
    • Ineligibility for a provisional license
  • Convicted and BAC of less than .15 (submitted to a breath test):
    • 6-month license suspension.
    • Eligibility for a provisional license

Understanding these legal consequences and their impact on driving records is critical for individuals facing a first-time DUI offense. It underscores the importance of legal counsel to navigate the complexities of the justice system effectively.


The arrest process begins with the officer having reasonable suspicion to pull over the driver. This suspicion may arise from observed erratic driving, traffic violations, or other behavioral cues indicating potential impairment.

Once they’ve stopped the driver, the officer may administer roadside assessments, including field sobriety tests and a roadside breath test. These assessments help the officer evaluate the driver's physical and cognitive abilities.

Based on the driver's behaviors and test results, if the officer has probable cause to believe the individual is driving under the influence or with an unlawful BAC, they can proceed with making an arrest.


Individuals have the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination. This means they are not obligated to answer questions that may be used against them in court.

Arrested individuals have the right to legal representation. They can choose to have an attorney present during questioning and other stages of the legal process.


Engaging in arguments with the arresting officer is generally unwise during the arrest. It's crucial to remain respectful and exercise the right to remain silent.

Resisting arrest in any way can lead to additional charges and complicate the legal situation. Cooperation, even if disagreeing with the arrest, is essential.


Facing a first-time DUI charge can be daunting, but understanding the key elements of building a robust defense is essential for navigating the legal process effectively.


Individuals charged with a first-time DUI can present recordings of their performance on field sobriety tests. These recordings can provide objective evidence of the individual's condition during the stop.

Statements from witnesses, especially those present during the arrest, can offer valuable perspectives on the events leading to the DUI charge.

Gathering and presenting evidence related to chemical test results and the calibration and maintenance records of testing machines can be critical in challenging the accuracy and reliability of the tests.

A first-time DUI lawyer in Greenville is crucial in reviewing and analyzing the gathered evidence. They can assess the strengths and weaknesses of the case to develop a robust defense strategy. Legal representation is also vital for anticipating and countering the prosecution's arguments.

Navigating the complexities of the legal system is challenging without proper representation. A first-time DUI lawyer provides guidance, ensuring that legal procedures are followed.

Fedalei & Reid Law LLC is strategic in building DUI defenses, tailoring approaches to the unique circumstances of each case. Our legal team is tenacious and relentless in pursuit of results. We do everything in our power to seek favorable outcomes for our clients.

Individuals facing a first-time DUI charge are encouraged to contact our team at (864) 668-1661 to discuss their case and explore options.

Chris Fedalei Author Image

Chris Fedalei

Attorney, Founding Partner

Chris became a founder and partner at FR Law LLC in 2022, where he focuses on criminal law to help defend people in Greenville County and throughout upstate South Carolina. As a private attorney, Chris brings his experience as a public defender to bear to protect the individual rights and freedoms of his clients. He looks at how each case pertains to the larger criminal justice system without losing sight of the individual impact.

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