In South Carolina, once you get convicted for drunk driving, not only is there a criminal component but there is also an administrative penalty. The criminal component deals with a monetary penalty and/or incarceration. The administrative aspect deals with the loss of the driver’s license for a set amount of time. Once you have a criminal conviction, this will stay on your driving record permanently. Unlike other misdemeanors, there is no mechanism in South Carolina to get a criminal DUI conviction erased. In addition, the administrative record will be on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles and will be disclosed to others upon request for up to a decade.
How will this impact me?
Once you have a DUI conviction on record, it can have several repercussions. Depending on the BAC level and the number of DUI convictions, you may not be able to find an insurance company for your car. Even if you find an insurance company, the premiums will be high. This could last for 3-5 years. The key is to maintain a clean driving record during that time. In South Carolina, some insurance companies offer what is called ‘assigned risk’ insurance to people who have been convicted of a DUI. These companies will cover your car, but the premiums are very high.
In addition, many prospective employers, landlords and security agencies often conduct background checks on people. If you have a DUI conviction, it will show up, and this may impact your ability to get a job, especially one that involves driving. In reality, many employers shun people with DUI convictions in the belief that these individuals come with a lot of ‘unwanted baggage’ and may lack a sense of responsibility. They tend to prefer people with a clean record. The same is true for landlords.
How can I avoid a DUI conviction?
If you have been arrested for drunk driving in South Carolina, it is important to seek assistance from a DUI lawyer immediately. A DUI attorney may be able to get the case thrown out or have the charges reduced. If the court finds that you are not guilty or the charges have been reduced, you will not face a lifetime criminal record or a ten-year record with the DMV. Talk to a DUI lawyer as this can work in your benefit.
Will my DUI conviction in South Carolina be transferred to another state?
If you decide to move to another state and start all over again, your DUI conviction will be transferred to the Department of Motor Vehicles in that state. South Carolina is a member of the Interstate Driver’s License Compact, which essentially is an agreement among most states to exchange information on the driver when they are convicted of a motor vehicle offense including a DUI.
To make matters worse, if you decide to move to another state after the DMV in that state receives your conviction from South Carolina, it may also apply additional penalties on you, depending on the laws of that state. It is also important to be aware that each state counts a previous DUI conviction within a certain time period. In South Carolina, a driver is charged with a 2nd DUI if one is convicted of another offense within 10 years. In other states, the period may be longer or shorter, and this can complicate matters.
Contact a DUI Lawyer at The Bateman Firm
The best advice is to avoid drunk driving altogether. But if you have been arrested for a DUI, then the next best solution is to get in touch with a DUI lawyer to see if the charges can be reduced. Or if you have been injured by a drunk driver, you can also contact a DUI attorney to find out how you can get compensation for any injuries that you might have incurred. Call The Bateman Firm because they have a team of DUI lawyers who have significant expertise in handling DUI cases. They will help you get your charges reduced and/or dropped completely, or if you are the injured party, they can help you seek damages for your injuries. Do not take a DUI arrest lightly. A DUI conviction can change your life, and not in a good way. Talk to a DUI attorney immediately and make sure you get proper legal counsel before you take any action.