DUI or Driving Under Influence is a serious offense that attracts extreme penalties. But the main concern for drivers charged with DUI is that the offense gets marked on their record. As DUI lawyers, we see this come up a lot. This can affect both personal and professional life to a large extent. If a DUI offense is in your record, you might be wondering how long it will exist. Let’s see what the SC laws have to say about it.
How South Carolina Defines DUI?
Motor laws vary from state to state. South Carolina has its own rules on how to deal with DUI violations. The state of South Carolina defines DUI as the act of driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or more. Furthermore, you’ll be considered “under the influence” if you’re driving with your faculties materially impaired because of the influence.
South Carolina, at a state level, prohibits anyone from driving under alcoholic or drug influence. Violation of these will undoubtedly lead to penalties.
Criminal Penalties for DUI
Driving Under the Influence is considered a criminal offense in South Carolina, and violators will attract fines.
The charges will depend on whether it’s a first offense, second offense, or third offense. It’ll be considered a first offense if you haven’t been convinced for DUI in the past ten years. If you have been convicted once in the past ten years, then it’s a second offense. If there are two, then it’s a third offense.
If you’ve been convicted for the first time, then you’re likely going to face 48 hours to 30 days of jail time. If, however, the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) percentage is between .10 and .16, then your jail time will be increased by at least seven days. For any percentage greater than .16, jail time can be as high as 90 days.
Along with jail, you’re also likely to bear fines of anywhere between $400 and $1,000, which depends on the BAC.
License Suspension and Conviction on Records
Besides the penalties mentioned above, you’ll also be suspended from driving for six months if it’s your first offense. If you’ve enrolled in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program or ADSAP, then you can obtain a provisional license. Also, your conviction will get into your criminal records.
DUI Expungement: Hire a DUI Defense Attorney in Greenville SC
South Carolina doesn’t allow you to expunge the DUI offense from your criminal records. This means they stay in your records forever. This is unlike other states where these types of convictions are erased automatically in 5-10 years.
DUI cannot be expunged because it is a traffic offense. As per South Carolina laws, no traffic violations can be expunged. These violations include, but are not limited to, reckless driving, speeding, unlawful passing, lane jumping, and improper parking.
But there are other ways you can remove the DUI conviction from your record. Having a conviction in your record forever can hurt you in many ways.
To expunge DUI from your record, you can do either of the following things:
- Fight and dismiss the charges made against you
- Get a criminal pardon
Most people looking to expunge the DUI conviction fight the charges raised against them. If you become free from the charges, then the DUI will automatically be removed from your records. This was not the case a few years back and was introduced only after 2009. So if the DUI conviction against you is dismissed after 2009, then you can remove the charges from your record.
This requires a judge to sign the order, which is then forwarded to all state agencies. They are asked to destroy all the records and evidence that are related to the DUI conviction. Agencies like the FBI might retain a few records, but most of them will be destroyed and not visible to the general public.
A criminal pardon is another way to deal with DUI convictions. This is essentially a grant that allows a convict to excuse from legal consequences. But the conviction will still be on record and won’t lead to expungement. However, many of your legal rights will be restored, like the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, and so on. This doesn’t require you to have close ties with the governor or victims but is procedural in nature.
In either case, you’d need to work with an experienced defense lawyer to deal with the legal side of things. Since things can get complicated, an attorney will guide you in the right direction. Get in touch with The Bateman Firm today.