In South Carolina, most DUI arrests are considered misdemeanors. Even if it’s your third offense, the court will treat it this way. As long as your DUI doesn’t involve the serious injury or death of another person, the most jail time you could possibly face is two (2) years. However, if you’re arrested and charged with felony DUI, the penalties are much more severe.
The reason South Carolina has DUI laws is to protect the public. People shouldn’t have to worry that they’ll get injured or killed in a car crash because someone else decided to drink and drive. This is why the penalties are much more severe for defendants who injure or kill someone in their DUI accident.
If you’re charged with any sort of DUI in Greenville, you should call our office right away. An experienced Greenville DUI defense lawyer may be able to get your charges reduced or dismissed. They’ll also fight to keep your sentence to a minimum. If you’re charged and convicted of felony DUI, however, there’s only so much they can do to help.
What are the Penalties for Misdemeanor DUI in Greenville?
Most people understand that, even if it’s your first DUI, you’ll still be facing some serious consequences. It’s important to highlight the penalties for a first, second and third offense DUI. All of these crimes involve fines, potential jail time and a suspension of your driver’s license.
Here are the penalties for misdemeanor DUI in South Carolina:
- 1st Offense:
- Fine of $400 OR 2-40 days in jail
- 6-months suspension of driver’s license
- 2nd Offense:
- Fines from $2,100 to $5,100
- 5 days to 1 year in jail
- 1-year license suspension
- 3rd Offense:
- $3,800 to $6,300 in fines
- 60 days to 3 years in jail
- 2-year license suspension
For any of these offenses, you may also be required to attend mandatory alcohol and drug class. The judge may also order you to install an interlock ignition device on your car.
These penalties seem rather stiff. They are much worse if you’re convicted of felony DUI in Greenville. If this is the case, you’ll want a skilled Greenville DUI lawyer by your side.
What Is a Felony DUI in South Carolina?
Most DUI charges in South Carolina are considered a misdemeanor. However, if your DUI arrest happens to involve an accident, you may be charged with a felony instead. In South Carolina, if you get into an accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you could be charged with a felony DUI. In South Carolina, you can be charged with the enhanced charge of felony DUI if any of the following apply:
- The accident involves serious bodily harm of another or the death of another
- You were also cited for violating a traffic law
- Your driving while under the influence is the proximate cause of the victim’s injury or death
Serious bodily injury is any injury that results in a long-term injury to the victim. It can also involve an accident that causes permanent disfigurement. If the victim suffers the loss of impairment of a body part or organ, you will also be charged with felony DUI.
As for proximate cause, it just means that the victim wouldn’t have suffering injury or death if you hadn’t decided to drive drunk.
Penalties for a Felony DUI in South Carolina are Enhanced
If you’re convicted of felony DUI in Greenville, you’ll be facing much more serious penalties than you would for a misdemeanor DUI. These penalties include the following:
- Minimum of thirty (30) days in jail
- Maximum jail sentence of 15 years
- No probation or parole will be available
- Fines of $5,000 to $10,000
- Your license will be suspended for three (3) years after you get out of jail
If the victim dies in the accident, your jail sentence will involve at least one (1) mandatory in jail and anywhere up to 25 years.
Contact a Seasoned DUI Defense Lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina
If you or your spouse have been charged with DUI, you’re going to need a skilled DUI defense lawyer in Greenville. Even if it’s your first offense, depending on the circumstances, you could end in jail. You’ll also be forced to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fines. Call today and schedule your initial consultation. If you’re still in jail, we can come visit you there to discuss your case. If you’re unable to call, then have a family member call for you and set up a date and time to meet. There is way too much at stake to try to handle this on your own.