In South Carolina, all drivers can be convicted of a DUI for driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. However, the laws differ based on whether the driver in question is an adult or a minor. Anyone charged with a DUI should contact a DUI defense attorney in Greenville for advice about their specific case. However, this article will highlight some of the key aspects of the laws governing DUIs. Let’s first look at the laws relevant for adults.
Things a DUI Defense Attorney in Greenville, SC Will Tell Adult Clients
It is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. However, if you are driving a commercial vehicle, the legal limit is 0.04%. It is illegal to drive while under the influence of alcohol or any other drug or intoxicant. “Under the influence” means that your ability to drive is noticeably impaired. It’s possible to be charged with a DUI or alcohol-related offense even if your BAC is under the legal limit. Penalties for a standard DUI are both legal and administrative.
Legal Penalties for a Standard DUI in South Carolina
Under South Carolina law, the penalties for a DUI depend on the driver’s history and their BAC. Prior offenses in other states count. The usual penalties are as follows.
- First offense – 48 hours to one year in jail and a fine of $400 to $1,000 dollars
- Second offense – 5 days to three years in jail and a fine of $2,100 to $6,500
- Third offense – 60 days to five years in jail and a fine of $3,800 to $10, 000.
Drivers convicted of a DUI have to enroll in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. They must get a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow the recommended treatment.
First-time offenders may be allowed to do community service instead of spending time in jail. The duration will be equivalent to the jail sentence they would have received.
Administrative Penalties for a Standard DUI in South Carolina
On the administrative side, the court will order that a convicted driver’s license be restricted or suspended. This is also guided by the driver’s history. The usual method is as follows:
- First offense – A first offense results in a six-month driver’s license suspension. The driver may be able to get a temporary provisional license which requires them to complete treatment. If the driver refused testing or had a BAC of .15% or more, this isn’t an option. However, the driver may be able to drive with an ignition interlock device (IID).
- Second offense – This requires the driver to drive with an IID for two years.
- Third offense – A third offense DUI results in three years with an IID. It increases to four years if the driver attracts three DUIs in five years.
From the second conviction onward, the judge will immobilize any vehicles the driver owns that aren’t outfitted with an IID. They will have to temporarily forfeit their license plate and registration.
Drivers who have a BAC of .15% or more are dealt with more harshly. They face an added one, two and three-month suspension for first, second and third offenses, respectively.
DUI Laws for Minors with Which a DUI Defense Attorney in Greenville is Familiar
Drivers under the age of 21 are prohibited from driving with a BAC of .02% or more. If they’re caught driving with a BAC of at least 0.2% and less than .08%, they can be cited for an underage DUI. They don’t have to be sufficiently impaired to meet the definition of under the influence. Drivers under 21 can also be charged with standard DUIs.
Unlike standard DUI convictions, underage convictions don’t result in court fines or time in jail. However, there are several penalties for license infractions and mandatory treatment.
Whether the young driver submits or refuses a chemical test, the arresting officer will issue a suspension notice. If they have a BAC of 0.2% or more, their license will be suspended for three months. The suspension will increase to six months if they offend again within five years. If the driver refused the test, their license will be suspended for six months for a first offense. It goes up to one year for a second offense.
Minors also have to enroll in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program and follow treatment recommendations.
Underage DUIs are not under the purview of a criminal court like standard DUIs. There is no possibility of a trial or criminal conviction. Instead, the Department of Motor Vehicles handles these cases.
Contact a DUI Defense Attorney in Greenville, SC for a Consultation
Whether you are a minor or an adult, DUI charges are serious. You shouldn’t attempt to defend them on your own. Instead, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney in Greenville at The Bateman Law Firm for assistance. They will listen to the facts of your case and work to get you the best possible outcome. Make that call today and get the support you need as you face the authorities in Greenville, SC.