Drunk Driving Defense Laws in South Carolina

An arrest for driving under the influence in South Carolina can be frightening. This is especially true for those who are facing the charge for the first time. While the penalties increase in severity for subsequent convictions, the fear of the unknown makes facing this charge for the first time so unsettling. An experienced, knowledgeable attorney can provide information about the charge, the possible penalties and what to expect in court, which will make it easier to deal with.

A DUI in South Carolina can be charged if an officer feels someone’s driving is impaired. The blood alcohol concentration does not have to be .08 percent for a charge of DUI; however, most offenders do have at least a .08 percent BAC. This is determined by testing your breath, blood or urine. If you refuse to give a sample of your breath, blood or urine, then your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 90 days if it is your first offense or 180 days if you have had a suspension or conviction related to alcohol in the past 10 years.

What Are the Penalties for a DUI in South Carolina?

The penalties you will face are determined by any previous convictions you may have for DUI in the past ten years. Here are the penalties for a first-time DUI:

  • Up to a $400 fine. With surcharges and assessments, the total is $992.
  • Two to 30 days in jail.
  • Six month suspension of your driving privileges.

The penalties for a second DUI are:

  • Fines of $2,1000 up to $5,100. With surcharges and assessments, the total is $10,744.50.
  • Five days to one year in jail.
  • One-year suspension of your driving privileges.

The penalties for a third DUI are:

  • Fines of $3,800 up to $6,300. With surcharges and assessments, the total is $13,124.50.
  • Sixty days to three years imprisonment.
  • Two-year suspension of your driving privileges. If the third offense happens within five years of the first conviction, then your driving privileges will be suspended for four years.
  • If the third offense happens within 10 years of the first DUI conviction, then the vehicle the offender was driving will be confiscated if he or she is the owner of the vehicle or lives with the owner of the vehicle.

A fourth or subsequent offense means the permanent revocation of the offender’s driving privileges and from one to five years imprisonment.

Felony Driving Under the Influence in South Carolina

A charge for Felony DUI occurs when a driver is convicted of causing great bodily injury or death in an accident while driving under the influence. The penalties for causing great bodily injury include:

  • Mandatory fine of $5,100 to $10,000. With surcharges and assessments, the total is $21,119.50.
  • 30 days to 15 years imprisonment.

The penalties when death occurs include:

  • Mandatory fine of $10,100 to $25,100. With surcharges and assessments, the total is $52,244.50.
  • One to 25 years in imprisonment.

Knowledgable Legal Representation

Because it can be difficult to fight DUI charges on your own, it is best to consider speaking with a knowledgeable attorney. He or she can review the facts of your case to see where the weaknesses are. This includes reviewing police reports, arrest reports, BAC analysis and more. He or she can use the various resources available to works toward a positive outcome in your case.

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