Anyone who drives a motor vehicle in Spartanburg, South Carolina should know the drunk driving laws. Over the years, South Carolina has established some of the strictest drunk driving laws in the country and even now, some feel that these laws are not tough enough and should be harsher. In any case, any intelligent driver should know and understand that if you are caught driving while drunk, there is a high probability that you will be arrested and face criminal charges. If this has happened to you, and if you need legal assistance, you should talk to a Spartanburg DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
The penalties for drunk driving in South Carolina mainly depend on the blood alcohol level (BAC), the number of times you are caught driving drunk and what type of injury/damage you cause.
Here are a few facts about drunk driving laws in South Carolina that you should be aware of:
Implied consent: Driving on the roads in South Carolina is a privilege and not a right. When you first obtain your driving license, you will be required to sign a statement that you will abide by this unstated condition of implied consent. What this means is that if you are suspected of drunk driving, and if you are caught, law enforcement officers can ask you to perform the breathalyzer test and other sobriety tests. This is something that you automatically agree to when you get your license. You do not have the right to refuse these tests. This is the implied consent you agree to when you get your license. If you refuse these tests, you can be arrested on the spot and taken to jail. When you refuse to agree to the blood or urine alcohol test, you may face a license suspension for 6 months for the first offense or 9 months if it is a repeat offense within ten years. There will be additional monetary penalties that you will also have to pay along with other charges.
The blood alcohol level (BAC): Another important thing that all drivers in Spartanburg, SC should know is that if the blood alcohol level which determines just how drunk you are, is 0.8% in individuals over the age of 21, the driver will be considered too drunk to be on behind the wheel. For drivers under the age of 21, the blood alcohol level limit is 0.02%. For those who drive trucks and other commercial vehicles, the limit is 0.04%. Anyone who is over and above these limits can be charged with a DUI.
The conviction: Anyone with a minimum of three drunk driving convictions in South Carolina is automatically charged with a misdemeanor. The fourth drunk driving conviction is upgraded to a felony. With each conviction, the penalties increase but are also dependent on the BAC at the time of the offense.
For the first offense
- Automatic six months driver’s license suspension for those over the age of 21 and three months for those under the age of 21
- Monetary penalty of $400 fine and/or incarceration anywhere from 2-30 days. The judge may consider community services in some cases
- If the BAC is more than 0.10 percent, there can be an additional monetary penalty and/or incarceration
The Second Offense
- Automatic 12 months driver’s license suspension
- Monetary penalty between $2,000-$5,000 plus:
- Anywhere from 5-365 days in jail
- If the BAC is greater than 0.10%, there may be additional monetary fines and incarceration
The Third Offense
- The driver’s license may be suspended for 2-4 years
- Monetary fine ranging from $3,500-$6,500
- Two months to three years in jail
- If the BAC is greater than 0.10%, there may be an additional monetary penalty and jail time
Contact a Spartanburg DUI Lawyer at The Bateman Firm
If you were caught driving drunk in Spartanburg, SC and are unaware of the driving laws of this state or your rights, you should speak to a Spartanburg DUI lawyer at The Bateman Firm. Getting behind the wheel when your mind is not 100% is not recommended, but if you have done so, and if you were caught, or if an accident has occurred, you should call our DUI lawyers at The Bateman Firm. Our Spartanburg DUI lawyer will discuss the details of your case and will let you know what you can do to minimize the impact of these charges as well as minimize the penalties.