If you’re charged and convicted of DUI in South Carolina, your driver’s license will be suspended. It’s not a question of if you’ll lose your license. It’s a matter of how long your suspension will last. A DUI attorney in Greenville meets with clients every week looking to apply for a provisional license. While there’s never a guarantee that your request will be approved, you have a much better chance of receiving your hardship license if you retain a Greenville criminal defense lawyer.
For some reason, people seem to think that a provisional license is a right. They assume that the judge has to let them drive their car to work, school, or doctor’s appointments. The truth is that the judge has complete discretion when it comes to granting hardship licenses. They also have the right to revoke this privilege if you don’t comply with the terms of this temporary and provisional license.
If you’ve been convicted of DUI or your trial is coming up, it’s a good idea to talk to a DUI attorney in Greenville, South Carolina.
Anyone Convicted of DUI in South Carolina Will Have Their License Suspended
Under South Carolina law, anybody who is convicted of DUI faces a mandatory suspension of their driver’s license. The state is very strict when it comes to drunk driving. This is partly because more than 10,000 people are killed in drunk driving accidents in the U.S. every year. In South Carolina alone, there were more than 28,000 drunk driving crashes between 2013 and 2017. With statistics this high, the legislature and the courts take drunk driving very seriously.
Depending on how many prior convictions you have for DUI, your license could be suspended for anywhere up to 7 years. And if you manage to get convicted of DUI for the fourth time, you’ll lose your license forever. The courts don’t play around when it comes to the penalties for drunk driving. In some cases, however, they are willing to approve a provisional, or hardship license for certain defendants.
What Is the Point of a Provisional License in South Carolina?
If you’ve been convicted of DUI, then you know how hard life can be without a driver’s license. For most people, the only way they can get to work, or school is by driving. They don’t have other people to drive them around and there may be no public transportation. This is why the courts are sometimes willing to approve a hardship license for people who have been convicted of a DUI.
The rationale behind a provisional license is two-fold. First, the courts do realize how important it is for a person to be able to get around. If you have no way to get to work, you’ll probably be fired in no time. This means you won’t be able to take care of yourself or your family. The same is true for school. If you’re trying to better yourself by going to school, the court doesn’t want one mistake to cost you a degree.
The second reason why the courts issue a provisional license is that they want to make sure you can pay your fines. If you have no way to get to work, you won’t be able to pay your fines on time. These fines are a source of revenue for the county. The last thing they want to do is make it impossible for you to earn an income.
Of course, there are limitations to the court’s patience and reasonableness. They will only issue a provisional license for someone who was convicted of DUI for the first time. Once you go on to commit subsequent offenses, the court won’t entertain the thought of granting a hardship license.
Your DUI Attorney in Greenville Knows the Requirements for a Provisional License
The laws regarding a provisional driver’s license in South Carolina can be tricky. There is no surefire way to apply for this privilege. If you don’t miss certain requirements, your request for a hardship license will be denied.
The criteria for qualifying for a provisional license in Greenville include the following:
- You must have a valid driver’s license
- You can’t have any other pending or current license suspensions
- You must be enrolled in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Program (ADSAP)
- You must submit proof that you have SR-22 insurance
- You may have to install an ignition interlock device in your car or SUV
- You will have to prove that you live more than a mile from work, school, or any other locations
- You do not live close to a public transportation center
If you meet these criteria, there is a good chance your Greenville criminal defense attorneys will be able to get your provisional license approved. Just keep in mind – the judge is not required to issue one. It is within their discretion to approve or deny your application.
What Places Are You Allowed to Drive to With a Provisional License?
The whole point of the judge suspending your driver’s license is to teach you a lesson about the dangers of drunk driving. They aren’t going to turn around and hand you a license right back unless it has restrictions. With a provisional (or hardship) license, you’re only allowed to drive to certain places. For example, you’re allowed to travel to and from the following locations with a provisional license:
- Your children’s school
- Doctor’s office or other medical appointments
- Grocery shopping
- Social activities
- Court-ordered alcohol and drug programs
- Mental health counseling
Aside from these places, you won’t be able to drive at all during your suspension period. If you’re pulled over or otherwise caught abusing your privileges, the court will revoke the provisional license. The judge may even be tempted to extend the original suspension period. If this happens, your DUI attorney in Greenville will have their work cut out for them.
Contact a Seasoned DUI Attorney in Greenville Right Away
If you’re interested in applying to the court for a provisional license after a DUI conviction, you should ask for help. You only get one shot at this. If you don’t file the request properly, or fail to pay the $200 hearing fee, your request will be denied. Therefore, we recommend that you retain the services of Greenville criminal defense lawyers. They can help you throughout the process and, if your application is denied, help you look for other options.