DUI Fines, Laws, and Penalties According to South Carolina Law

While no one should drive impaired, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there are many laws, penalties, rumors, and beliefs that surround a DUI arrest or case. Many people take the advice of family, friends, or loved ones that have experience with an arrest. Often, however, these "truths" about what to do when you get pulled over and about your penalties are passed by word of mouth. Needless to say, this means that many times the information is inaccurate. As a law office with experience in DUI defense, we are here to set the record straight and serve as your one-stop spot for all the correct knowledge and information surround a DUI charge, including the fines, laws, and penalties. DUI Law and Number of Drinks In South Carolina, and in all states, for that matter, you are not legally allowed to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of BAC higher than .08 percent. There are several exceptions, however. For those under the age of 21 (the legal age to consume alcohol in the Untied States), a BAC of .02 percent is considered illegally driving under the influence. For commercial drivers, a BAC of .04 percent or more is considered driving under the influence. Determining your BAC combines several factors. Although some may ask themselves, "How many drinks does it take to become legally drunk?" this is not an accurate way to determine if you should get behind the wheel or not. There are certain physical characteristics and other factors that determine how you metabolize alcohol. For example, personal metabolic rate, along with the rate of alcohol consumption and a person's individual weight, gender, height, and fat/muscle content all contribute the result of one's BAC. Additionally, depending on when a person blows into the test kit can play a part in the outcome. For example, a person's BAC rises as he/she digests the alcohol, meaning the levels change even after consumption. Additionally, particular medications and how much food has been eaten beforehand will change the way alcohol affects you.  Penalties The penalties surrounding a DUI offense vary according to the BAC of the driver, when they were arrested, and other circumstances, such as the ability to pay fines, number of previous offenses, and the circumstances that surround the arrest. According to DrivingLaws, here is a general guideline that can be expected in the state of South Carolina:  

1st Offense 2nd Offense 3rd Offense 4th Offense
Jail 48 hour - 90 days 5 days up - 5 years 60 days up - 5 years 1-7 years
Fines and Penalties $400 - $1,000 $2,1000 - $6,5000 $3,8000 - $10,000 Up to $10,000
License Suspension 6 months 1 year 2 years Permanent
IID Required No Yes Yes ----

  Note that IID refers to an Ignition Interlock Device. Multiple convictions often result in a court order installation of an IID on your vehicle. Also, with multiple convictions, you may have to enroll in a court-ordered drug intervention program. All of these occur at the expense of the offender. Refusing the Test What is important to remember, under South Carolina law, is that it is not illegal to drink alcohol and drive a car. However, it is illegal to drive a vehicle if your blood alcohol level is at .08 or higher. If an officer asks you to step out of your vehicle after you have provided him/her with the necessary information, and you believe there is a chance you may be driving with a BAC of .08 or higher, you do have the right to refuse the test. When you refuse to give your consent to a chemical test, you will be subjected to a fine and a possible suspension of your license. For first time offenders, the suspension period is generally six months. For second-time offenders, this time period will go up to nine months, and, for third-time offenders, a license suspension increases to one year. Again, that is the general outcome, as many other factors such as the circumstance and prior offense may alter the results of your refusal. However, it is important to know that you have the right to refuse any test the officer may subject you to, and that many times a suspension is appealed until the hearing, with the possibility that your driving privileges never get suspended.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Law Office of
Jason S. Stevens, LLC

215 East Bay Street Suite 500-H
Charleston, SC 29401

Phone: 843-410-3953
Fax: 843-414-7240
Charleston Law Office Map

Back To Top