DUI in South Carolina is a serious offense. The penalties for the first citation may not be very severe but second, third or subsequent citations carry stiff penalties. Typical penalties for a DUI charge may include jail time, fine, and mandatory drug rehabilitation program. The court may also order you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
One of the most devastating penalties of a DUI is license suspension. You may lose your license for a week, a month, a year, or even longer depending on the count, seriousness of offense and other factors. License suspension is a huge hassle and can directly impact your everyday life. Once your license is revoked, you can no longer drive to your job or pick your kids from school. This can result in loss of employment, additional costs of daily commuting and other problems.
This is why one of your first considerations after a DUI charge should be to have your driver’s license restored. This is only possible after a specific period has elapsed, depending on the count of your DUI offense. A DUI lawyer can help.
Duration of License Suspension After a DUI in South Carolina
If you are cited for a DUI for the first time, you will likely face a license suspension for six months. For the second DUI offense, the license suspension period is nine months. For the third DUI offense, you may face a license suspension of up to 12 months. Subsequent DUI offenses are categorized as a felony and result in a license suspension of up to three years.
If you have more than four citations within the lookback period, you may face permanent license suspension in South Carolina.
The actual duration of license suspension will ultimately vary from one case to another. It depends on a number of factors such as whether or not you agreed to a breathalyzer test, and your BAC level at the time of arrest. Other factors that may affect the period of suspension include whether you caused an accident when DUI, or if a DUI accident caused by you resulted in injuries.
If you continue to drive after having your license suspended, you may face harsher penalties. These include up to five years in prison and a permanent license revocation.
License Reinstatement Requirements
You can have the duration of your license suspension reduced by appealing against the DUI charge. Alternatively, you can seek alternative license options such as a provisional license or a route-restricted license.
In any case, you will need to apply for license reinstatement when you are eligible. This application is directed at South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV). SCDMV then judges your application against certain requirements.
As a standard rule, you must have completed an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program before you apply for license reinstatement. You are also required to pay a $100 reinstatement fee. In some cases, other fines may add up and the total reinstatement fees may be higher. If you are required to pay a reinstatement fee of more than $300, you can apply for the SCDMV payment plan.
You are additionally required to submit an SR22 insurance certification when applying for license reinstatement. You can get the certificate from your insurance company and must maintain it for 36 months. If your license was suspended for multiple DUIs, an additional requirement may be to have the ignition interlock device installed before you apply for reinstatement.
Appealing Against License Suspension
In many cases, a DUI charge does not stand up to a rigorous court hearing. This is simply because a number of DUI citations are not fairly meted out. The BAC results may not support the charge or the circumstances of the case may point in favor of you.
You can contest your DUI license suspension in most cases. With a good attorney on your side, this can result in a reduction in the suspension period. In cases where evidence against you is scarce, you may have the suspension cancelled altogether and have your license revoked right away. To file an appeal against license suspension, you must contact the South Carolina Administrative Law Court.
How Can a Clemson, SC DUI Defense Attorney Help You?
Applying for a DUI license reinstatement is a complex process. You must first meet certain requirements before you can apply for reinstatement. If you are seeking to overturn a suspension, in particular, you need a lawyer who can work with the specific facts of your case. In both situations, a Clemson DUI attorney can help you get a reduced period of suspension and get your license reinstated at the earliest.
Finding a Lawyer to Handle a DUI in South Carolina
Here at The Bateman Firm, we help you appeal against DUI license suspension. Our Clemson lawyers have many years of experience in DUI cases. We work with you to have the suspension reduced or the suspension overturned altogether. When that is not feasible, we help you get a reinstatement at the earliest once the suspension period is over. Contact us today for a FREE one-on-one consultation with our lawyers to discuss your DUI license suspension.