Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense as it poses a risk to you and to other drivers on the road so it is good practice to get a qualified DUI lawyer. South Carolina has one of the highest rates of DUI-related deaths. In 2017 alone, nearly 22,000 drivers were arrested in South Carolina over DUI charges. For this reason, the law comes down hard on DUI offenses which involve an injury also if it is before the DUI Lookback Period is over.
If you receive a DUI citation without any serious injuries to another person, you will likely receive light penalties. These include up to $1,000 fine and a jail-time of 2 days to 3 months for first conviction. In most cases, the judge will let you go with a minimum or no jail time.
However, the penalties become more severe for subsequent DUI offenses. If you are charged with a 2nd or 3rd DUI offense, you have to pay higher fines and face near-certain jail time. You also get an extended license suspension and may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed.
The state of South Carolina, as the other states, considers the lookback period when determining a DUI offense.
What Is Lookback Period?
When you receive a DUI citation for the first time, it goes on your criminal record. The citation will stay on your record for a certain period of time, depending on the state laws. The duration for which the citation stays on your record is called the lookback period.
The lookback period is important because it is considered if you get a second or third DUI citation. If you get a second citation within the lookback period, it is considered a 2nd DUI offense. However, if you get a new DUI citation after the lookback period for the first offense expired, it is considered first offense. In this way, the lookback period is considered to determine the severity for your DUI offense.
DUI Lookback Period in South Carolina
Each state has its own lookback period. Some states have a lookback period of only five years. Others have a lifetime lookback period, which means that the DUI offense remains on your record for good.
South Carolina has a lookback period of ten years. If you are booked for a DUI offense in South Carolina, the charge will stay on your record for ten years. During this period, any subsequent DUI offenses will result in escalated penalties.
Why Is DUI Lookback Important?
DUI lookback period is important because it directly affects the penalties you receive in a DUI offense. If you commit a second DUI offense in a lookback period, you receive harsher penalties. The penalties for second DUI conviction in South Carolina include a fine of up to $6,500 and a jail time of 5 days to 3 years.
Penalties for a third conviction in the lookback period may cost you up to $10,000 in fines. You may also face a jail time of up to 5 years, with a minimum jail time of 60 days. With a third DUI conviction, you are also required to install an ignition interlock device. The penalties for a fourth conviction are even harsher. These include a fine of up to $10,000 and a jail time of up to 7 years.
How Does DUI Lookback Affect Your Auto Insurance?
When you receive a DUI citation, it directly impacts your insurance standing. You are treated as a higher risk with a DUI on your record. So long as the DUI stays on your record, you may have to pay higher premiums on your auto insurance. Once the lookback period is over and the DUI is expunged from your record, your insurance rates go down to normal.
How Can a Greenville SC DUI Attorney Help You?
You may receive a fairly light penalty on you first DUI conviction but the penalties for subsequent offenses are serious. This is why you should hire a qualified DUI attorney when you get a second, third or fourth conviction. Many DUI citations are unfair and have legal irregularities. A good lawyer can help identify these irregularities and help you get a no-conviction or significantly reduced penalties. Your attorney may also advise you on exploring alternatives such as rehab instead of jail time.
Finding a DUI Defense Lawyer in Greenville SC
Here at the Bateman Firm, we believe in second chances. Many victims of DUI citations do not deserve the penalties and the punishment. And many DUI cases are simply a result of misunderstanding, misconduct or improper procedures. This is why we help you put up a strong defense against a DUI conviction. Contact us today to book a free consultation with our DUI attorneys and discuss your case.