Driving under influence (DUI) is considered a misdemeanor in Greenville, South Carolina under the DUI laws here. If you are repeatedly caught driving under influence, it becomes a felony after the third incident. The charges become even more severe if your driving causes injuries or death. It is essential to have a complete understanding of DUI laws in Greenville. And if you find yourself being charged with the offense of drinking and driving, you may even need a DUI attorney in your defense.
So, we’ve put up this shot but a comprehensive guide that explains everything about the DUI laws in Greenville and why you may need an attorney.
What Are the Conditions for Being Charged With DUI?
DUI cases depend on the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). Generally, the permissible BAC limit is up to 0.08% for adults. Anyone driving with a BAC higher than this limit will be charged with DUI.
However, drivers with a Commercial Driver’s License are not permitted to drive with BAC higher than 0.04%. And drivers under the age of 21 cannot have BAC above 0.02%.
What Happens When You’re Caught Driving Under Influence?
There are various checkpoints in Greenville where law enforcement officers inspect drivers. Apart from these checkpoints, officers may also pull over drivers anytime if they suspect a possible case of DUI.
Whenever an officer performs an inspection, they will first perform a field sobriety test where the driver will be asked to perform simple various motor tasks. The purpose of the field test is to check the balance, coordination, and presence of mind of the driver. The law also requires the officer to take a full, continuous video of the field test if it may be required later on as evidence in court.
Drivers who pass the field test are usually free to go. But if they fail the field test, they will be asked to take the Breathalyzer test, where they will have to blow into a device that will determine the alcohol content in their body from their breath. If the driver passes the Breathalyzer test as well, the officer may ask them to go for a urine test which will accurately determine the BAC.
At any time, the driver can refuse to undergo these tests. However, if they do refuse, they can be charged immediately, as South Carolina implements the implied consent law. Every licensed driver must agree to take the required tests if pulled over for DUI.
What Is the Penalty or Punishment for DUI Charges?
Drivers caught and arrested for DUI will face legal penalties based on whether it was their first offense or repeated offense.
- The penalty for first-time offenders varies depending on their BAC.
- BAC below 0.10%: Sentenced to jail for anywhere between 2 to 30 days, or community service instead of jail; $400 fine.
- BAC above 0.10% but below 0.15%: Sentenced to jail for anywhere between 3 to 30 days, or community service; $500 fine.
- BAC above 0.15%: Sentenced to jail for anywhere between 30 to 90 days or community service; $1000 fine and license suspended for six months; mandatory Ignition Interlock.
- The punishment gets harsher for repeated offenses and can go up to 7 years in jail, license suspension for up to 15 months, and in some cases, the driver may be required to use Ignition Interlock for a lifetime.
What Is the Ignition Interlock Device?
An ignition interlock device is a device fitted into the cars of DUI offenders, and it requires them to blow into the device’s breathalyzer every time before they start driving. The device permits them to drive only if their BAC level is below the permissible limit. In addition, the device also requires facial recognition with the driver behind the wheel to make sure that the person using the breathalyzer and the person driving the car are one and the same.
When Do You Need a DUI Attorney?
If you are charged with DUI, you can challenge the decision in court. But to build a strong case in your defense, it’s best to hire a DUI attorney. In fact, it’s advisable to contact an attorney as soon as you are charged with DUI because they can help you make the right decisions. A competent and expert attorney can also help you to reduce your punishment or prevent suspension of your license, depending on how severe your case is.
For all DUI-related cases and to learn more about DUI laws in Greenville, contact us today.