Driving under the influence is a serious crime in the state of South Carolina. Offenders could receive punishment such as driver’s license suspension, jail time, heavy fines, or ignition interlock device requirements just to name a few. Anyone arrested for a DUI or DWI will face criminal penalties in court as well as administrative penalties with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles.
Determining Factors of a DUI in Greenville, SC
- In South Carolina, if you have a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher, you could face an arrest with DUI charges.
- Anyone who is under the age of 21 cannot legally drive with a BAC that is 0.02% or higher.
- Drivers who hold a CDL license can be arrested if their BAC is 0.04% or higher.
Remember that depending on your circumstances, you may receive a DUI or another alcohol-related violation even if your BAC level is under the specified limit.
The Penalties for a First Offense DUI in South Carolina
For drivers over the age of 21 and convicted of a DUI, the BAC and if this is your first offense will help determine how severe your sentencing will be. Also, anyone who refuses to give a breath sample will have their license suspended automatically for six months from the date of your arrest.
Penalties for a First Offense DUI
If you have a BAC below 0.10%:
- 48 hours to a maximum of 30 days in jail. Community service may be given instead of the mandatory minimum jail sentence
- Fines of $400 plus court costs and assessments
If you have a BAC between 0.10% and 0.15%:
- 72 hours to a maximum of 30 days in jail Community service can be given instead of minimum jail time.
- Fines of $500, plus court costs and assessments
If your BAC is 0.15% of higher you could face:
- 30 days to a maximum of 90 days in jail. Community service may be given instead of a jail sentence
- Fines of $1,000 plus court costs and assessments
- Driver’s license suspension for six months
- Ignition Interlock Device required
The punishment only goes up as a driver faces their second, third and fourth DUI arrest. If you are arrested for the fourth time, you could face as many as seven years in jail, driver’s license suspension, and using an ignition interlock device for life.
The Penalties for Underage Drinking and Driving in South Carolina
The laws for an underage DUI in South Carolina are becoming stricter because of the Legislative Session and the state’s zero tolerance policy. Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration of just 0.02% can be charged with penalties for both driving under the influence and drinking underage. All underage drivers will automatically have their license suspended for at least three months when caught.
Drivers under the age of 21 with a BA of at least 0.02% and less than 0.08% will have their license or permit suspended or withheld for up to 3 months for their first offense and six months for a second offense within five years.
Drivers will have their license suspended for six months if their chemical test is refused during their initial offense, and a one-year suspension if it is their second offense within five years.
Underage DUI drivers have the right to an Administrative Hearing to seek reinstatement of their driving privileges when their case is pending. All those who are under the age of 21 and have a BAC that is 0.08% or higher may be arrested and prosecuted under South Carolina’s Drunk Driving Laws.
Keep in mind that underage drinking arrests will have long-lasting consequences. Along with ruining potential job opportunities in the future, students who are convicted or plead guilty to alcohol or drug-related offenses are not eligible for a LIFE scholarship after the expiration of one calendar school year from the date of their conviction. Drivers that are between the ages of 18 and 21 charged with a DUI could also be charged with child endangerment and subject to penalties if they have a passenger under the age of 16 in their car.
The Ignition Interlock Device
The Ignition Interlock Device is now a part of South Carolina’s new DUI Law also known as Bill #137 or Emma’s Law. These devices are now required for a first offense DUI offenders and make sure that no one gets into their car and drives if they are under the influence of alcohol.
The ignition interlock device is like a breathalyzer that is installed inside the dashboard of the driver’s car. It will prevent the driver from operating the vehicle if their BAC is above 0.02%. Along with measuring the blood alcohol levels of the driver, it will also take their picture and verify that they are behind the wheel before the engine starts. This helps to verify that the person who uses the breathalyzer is the same person driving the car
How to Have Your South Carolina Driver’s License Reinstated After a DUI
The way that you have your South Carolina Driver’s License reinstated will depend on the reason it was suspended. In most cases, you will need to get an SR22 from your insurance company and keep the coverage for three years. You will have to satisfy any court requirements and pay fines, complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program, have an ignition interlock device installed, and pay the $100 reinstatement fee. You can pay your reinstatement fees online using the South Carolina DMV website.
When to Contact a DUI Defense Attorney in Greenville, SC
When you need assistance with a DUI case, be sure to contact the local team in DUI Defense at the Bateman Law Firm in Greenville, SC. Our team of experienced legal representatives can help explain your rights to you and provide you with options on how to proceed with your case. But we can’t help you unless you give us a call today and schedule your free, confidential consultation. Contact us here on our website, or by phone at 844.DUI.ALLY.