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From One Lawyer to Another: Protecting College Students Charged with DUI

Your friend’s child is in college and is arrested for DUI. Your friend calls you because you are a lawyer and you will know what to do.

Will you?

As a lawyer, you already know that it is important to determine when the court date is, and that will be on the ticket and the bond order.

Many times, especially during this pandemic, the court date may be several months away, and this could lull the defendant into a sense of complacency and result in them missing a critical pre-court date deadline. Often their driving privileges have been suspended and they do not know it. In many instances, an administrative hearing needs to be requested immediately to restore their immediate driving privileges and give the defendant a chance to fight a further suspension in the future.

If the student is from out of state, things will become much more complicated in terms of their current and future driving privileges and other repercussions. We are always dealing with college students in these situations and we are very experienced in navigating the minefield of dealing with two jurisdictions for one offense.

I have seen many lawyers, even criminal defense lawyers, advise people to “go ahead and request a jury trial.” This is often a huge mistake and should never be a knee-jerk reaction.

Another common mistake we see students make is relying on the arresting officer for legal advice. Worse than that, we have even seen non-DUI lawyers in court “doing a favor” for a friend of the family doing the same thing. Probably unintentionally, that officer’s advice is almost always wrong and detrimental to that student.

Students in particular need to be worried about the collateral consequences of a DUI arrest and conviction. Most police officers and even most magistrates and municipal court judges usually do not completely comprehend these ramifications. I have repeatedly seen judges advise students that certain convictions can be expunged from their records in the future when this is completely false. There is no South Carolina statute that provides for the expungement of a DUI conviction. PTI, or Pretrial Intervention, with which many students are familiar, is not available for DUI. The only way to not have DUI on your record for the rest of your life is to not be convicted of that DUI.

The Law Offices of A. Randolph Hough, P.A. tries cases throughout South Carolina, with offices in Columbia and Charleston. We are happy to speak to anyone about their South Carolina DUI case, and our initial consultation is free. Please call 803.771.4119, or fill out our contact form.