What Happens to My License if I Get a DUI?
In South Carolina, if you are convicted of driving under the influence, or driving with an unlawful amount of alcohol in your system, you can be subject to both criminal and administrative penalties, including fines, jail time, and license suspension. Usually, the fines, jail time and other penalties you can receive usually depend on the facts and circumstances of your case and the severity of the offense, including the percentage of alcohol in your blood, whether it is your second DUI, whether you were involved in an accident, or whether you caused serious injuries. Remember also that South Carolina has an implied consent law which means that you automatically consent to a test of your breath, blood, or urine after you have been arrested for suspicion of DUI. While you have a right to refuse this test, doing so will subject you to additional penalties, including license suspension.
If you have been arrested for DUI and fail a chemical test, or refuse one, chances are your driver’s license will be suspended for a period of time. The length of time depends on the circumstances of your case. If you refuse a test, your license can be suspended for a period of time ranging from six months to fifteen months, depending on how many DUI convictions you have received in the last ten years. If you do decide to submit to a test, under the implied consent law, your license will be suspended if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.15 percent or greater. License suspensions for a BAC of 0.15 or more range from one month to four months also depending on your prior DUI convictions in the past ten years.
If your license is suspended under the implied consent law, you will have the opportunity to request an administrative hearing, and you may qualify for a temporary alcohol license that will allow you to drive until you receive the results of your administrative hearing. If your hearing is successful, then your license suspension ends. However, if you are unsuccessful, your license suspension remains. It is possible to qualify for an alcohol license so that you can still go to work or school, but in order to drive again, you will likely also be required to enroll in a rehabilitative program and pay reinstatement fees to have your driver’s license reissued.
It is important to note that the license suspension consequences under the implied consent law are separate and in addition to any license suspensions as a result of a DUI conviction.
For a first time DUI, license suspensions are typically six months. A second DUI offense carries a one-year license suspension. A third DUI offense can result in a two-year license suspension, but if your conviction happens within five years from the date of your first offense, your license can be suspended for four years. A fourth or subsequent DUI is considered a felony and can result in permanent license revocation. It is possible to qualify for a restricted provisional license; however, to be eligible, you must meet certain requirements.
Losing your right to drive is a serious consequence of a DUI conviction or conviction under South Carolina’s implied consent law. It makes no difference whether you are a first time DUI offender, or have a history of driving under the influence; your driver’s license can be suspended for at least six months. Losing your ability to drive can have consequences in other areas of your life as well, especially if you are unable to qualify for a provisional or restricted license. Without a driver’s license, it will be difficult to get to work or school, or even the grocery store. If you have been arrested and charged with DUI or under the implied consent law, we at The Bateman Law Firm recommend that you consult with an experienced DUI attorney right away.