DUAC is a charge for “driving with unlawful alcohol concentration”. Unlike a DUI charge, which takes into account both a driver’s blood alcohol content and erratic or unsafe driving, a DUAC charge is based solely on the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC).
A DUAC charge may result if an officer stops a driver for some sort of violation that is not for erratic or reckless driving, as is often the case in a DUI stop, but then smells alcohol on the breath of the driver. Then, following a breathalyzer test, the officer may find that the individual’s BAC is above the legal limit of .08 and charge him with DUAC as a result.
How Common are DUAC Charges?
DUAC charges in South Carolina are relatively uncommon. Most drivers suspected of operating a vehicle while intoxicated are instead charged with DUI.
DUAC charges are relatively uncommon because generally if someone is stopped by police for driving erratically, the prosecutor will generally charge the driver with a DUI, not a DUAC. Police may charge a driver with DUAC if he suspects that the individual is under the influence of drugs or alcohol but has not been driving erratically. The police will then often administer a breathalyzer test to determine whether the driver was legally drunk.
Implications of a DUAC Charge
Both DUI and DUAC carry significant financial penalties from the court case itself. Additionally, DUAC, like DUI, can carry prison sentences as well depending on the number of prior offenses that have been committed within the “lookback period”.
There are potentially other significant indirect costs. A court might not permit the convicted driver to hold a provisional license or have any driving privileges at all depending on the circumstances. Drivers convicted of DUAC may face additional costs such as obtaining an ignition interlock device or additional car insurance as a result.
For a DUAC charge, the driver must be shown to have had a BAC above the legal limit of .08 at the time he was stopped and charged, or at least within two hours of being arrested. The potential issue here is that the breathalyzer machine must have worked perfectly and the prosecutor must be able to demonstrate as much in court, or risk the whole case falling apart.
If someone has a prior DUI or DUAC, an additional DUAC charge may result in more severe penalties for that driver. South Carolina increases the fines and license suspensions for drivers who commit multiple DUI or DUAC offenses within a ten-year lookback period.
Contact an Experienced Attorney for Help Now
If you have any questions about DUI or even a DUAC case for yourself or a loved one, you should consider seeking legal guidance as soon as possible. The Bateman Law Firm is ready to help you in this critical time if you have been arrested and charged with DUI in Greenville and the surrounding area.