What Happens if You Are Charged with a Fatal DUI in Lancaster County, South Carolina?

February 22, 2024

If you are involved in a fatal drunk driving accident, life will never be the same. Facing such an emotional burden and the prospect of spending the next 25 years in prison can be overwhelming. However, you do not have to handle this difficult time alone.  

The Barboza Law firm has earned a reputation for its strong defense and litigation skills. When confronted with losing your freedom, it is important to have an experienced DUI defense lawyer by your side.

What Are the Penalties if You Kill Someone in a Drunk Driving Accident in Lancaster County?

The penalties for a fatal drunk driving accident are severe. Charged as a felony, a fatal DUI is often referred to as vehicular homicide or DUI manslaughter. If convicted, there is a mandatory prison sentence.

According to South Carolina law, a felony DUI carries the following penalties:

  • A mandatory prison sentence of 1 to 25 years
  • A mandatory fine of $10,100 to $25,100

After assessments and surcharges, the penalties can add up to more than $52,000.

Why Are DUIs Prosecuted so aggressively in South Carolina?

South Carolina has repeatedly topped lists for the most drunk drivers. Recently, Forbes ranked the worst states for DUIs. South Carolina ranks as the 7th worst state in the nation for drunk driving, noting that in the last reporting year:

  • 289.6 drivers receive a DUI for every 100,000 licensed drivers
  • 29.6% of all traffic fatalities involve an impaired motorist

The state is under enormous pressure to reduce the number of drunk drivers on South Carolina roads. Aggressively prosecuting deadly DUIs serves as a deterrent for future drunk driving incidents, especially during the holidays.

Are There More DUI Arrests During the Winter Holidays?

The holidays are known for meeting with friends and family. These events usually involve alcohol, prompting law enforcement to be on alert for more drunk drivers than other nights.

Recently, several articles have been published exploring the relationship between holidays and drunk driving. The National Safety Council (NSC) predicted between 333 and 490 people would be killed on New Year’s Day 2023 alone.

The NSC based their estimates on data from the last reporting year. During the last New Year’s holiday, 49% of all traffic fatalities involved alcohol. Another article explored DUIs on the holidays even further.

According to their findings:

  • New Year’s Day is the worst day for drunk driving
  • The odds of a fatal DUI on New Year’s Day are 116% higher than average

According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS), preliminary numbers report 11 people were killed during the New Year’s holiday. While the actual numbers may not be known for several months, agencies are shining a spotlight on fatal DUI accidents.

Why Choose Barboza Law for Your Defense?  

Accidentally killing someone while drinking and driving is a felony charge with severe mandatory penalties. At Barboza Law, our DUI defense attorneys in Lancaster know how to stand up against aggressive prosecution.

We understand the emotional toll of a fatal DUI. Our dedicated staff is here to stand beside you. We will fight for your rights and protect your best interests, working tirelessly to mitigate the damaging effects of a felony DUI charge. Please contact Attorney Barboza for a consultation today. Call (803) 973-6003 to discuss the potential strategies for your defense.