DWI/DUI - Drunk Driving Laws And Attorneys In South Carolina
|A comprehensive guide to drunk
driving laws, penalties, fines and
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SOUTH CAROLINA DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (DUI)
The state of South Carolina has an implied consent law. This law says
that by driving on the state’s streets and highways, a motorist implies
his consent to take a chemical test for intoxication. If you are over 21
years of age and register a Blood/Breath Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of
.15 or greater, you will immediately lose your driving privileges for 30
days. If you have prior violations of DUI, Felony DUI, Implied Consent or
a BAC of .15 or greater within ten years of the first offense, your driving
privilege will immediately be suspended for 60 days. If you refuse to take
the test for intoxicants and it is your first offense, you will immediately
lose your driving privileges for 6 months. A second offense refusal will
result in a license suspension for 9 months. This will be in addition to
any suspension you might receive if you are convicted for driving under
the influence of intoxicating liquors or unlawful blood/breath alcohol
content. This same law says that if the chemical test shows you to have
a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher, it may be
inferred that you are under the influence of alcohol.
Note: Effective Febuary 9, 2009: A suspect will have his or her driver’s
license suspended for six months, instead of three, for refusing a breath
test. Suspension times for refusals increase upon subsequent offenses.
The new DUI law will also:
Apply higher penalties for convictions. The new law provides harsher
punishments depending on the amount of alcohol consumed, the higher
the blood concentration level, the stiffer the penalty. Repeat offenders
also will face longer periods of imprisonment and larger fines.
For the list of the new laws for a DUI offense please visit the North
Carolina Department Of Safety Website at http://www.scdps.org
If you are under 21 years of age and drive with a blood/breath
alcohol content (BAC) of .02 or greater, you will be suspended for three
months for the first offense and six months for a second offense within
a five year period. If you refuse to take the chemical test to determine
the alcohol content in your blood, you will be immediately suspended
for six months for the first offense. If you have prior violations of DUI,
Felony DUI, Implied Consent or a BAC of .02 or greater within five years
of the first offense, your driving privilege will immediately be suspended
for one year.
Court Penalties Under The DUI Law In South Carolina
a) BAC of .08 to less than .10 - $400 fine and 48 hours of jail or public
b) BAC of .10 to lees than .16 - $500 fines and 72 hours of jail or public
c) BAC of .16 and above - $1000 fine and 30 days jail or public service
Suspension Of Drivers License In South Carolina For A DUI Under New
Laws Effective February 10, 2009
If you are found guilty or forfeit bond on a charge of driving under the
influence of intoxicating liquor, narcotic drugs or unlawful blood/breath
alcohol content, your privilege to drive will be suspended. The offenses
and corresponding suspension periods are as follows:
First Offense - Six month suspension
Second Offense - One year suspension
Third Offense - Two year suspension
Fourth Offense - Permanent suspension.
If you receive three convictions within five years, your driving privileges
will be suspended for four years. Prior violations are determined by
violations occurring within a ten year period.
If you are eligible for a provisional license, you will have to pay to
attend the required Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
school, prove that you have SR-22 liability insurance coverage, and pay
the required fee for a provisional license.
Before obtaining a regular license, you must have successfully
completed the ADSAP school, pay a reinstatement fee, and maintain SR-
22 liability insurance coverage.
If, while driving under the influence, you have an accident in which you
cause great bodily injury to someone else, you will be charged with
a felony DUI, fined, imprisoned and your driver’s license will be
suspended for three years plus the term of imprisonment. If death
results, you will be fined and imprisoned. Penalties for every DUI
offense after the first one are progressively severe. No part of the
minimum sentence can be suspended.
License suspension periods also increase with subsequent
offenses. Upon the fourth violation, you will be permanently barred
from being issued a license to operate a motor vehicle.
Driving Under Suspension In South Carolina
Of course, if your license has been revoked, suspended or
cancelled you must not drive a vehicle until the condition which
brought about such an action is cleared. If you do and are apprehended
and convicted, you will be fined and/or imprisoned and your suspension
will be doubled. For a second conviction, there is a fine and/or
imprisonment and the suspension time will again be doubled. For a
third and subsequent offense you may be subject to imprisonment and
your license suspension will be doubled.
Provisional Driver’s License
A South Carolina licensed driver who is convicted of a first
offense driving under the influence of intoxicants or unlawful alcohol
concentration may qualify for a “Provisional Driver’s License.” The
initial steps to obtain such a license are:
1. File proof of financial responsibility for the future with the
2. Enroll in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
approved by the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug
Abuse Services. The commission maintains offices and conducts the
school in each county of the state. Consult your local telephone directory
for the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse
Services for further information.
The provisional driver’s license is issued for a period not to exceed six
months. After the suspension period, a person must successfully
complete all phases of the driver’s examination, pay a reinstatement
fee, maintain SR-22 and have completed ADSAP prior to being issued a
regular driver’s license.
To obtain the provisional driver’s license, the individual can have no
other existing suspension recorded against him. Such license will be
automatically revoked and the full suspension imposed if the person is
convicted of any violations totaling four or more points or any other law
relative to the operation of a motor vehicle for which suspension of a
driver’s license is made mandatory by law. Drivers whose licenses have
been suspended due to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
are required by law to enroll and successfully complete ADSAP and file
an SR-22 insurance form.
Route-Restricted Driver’s License
A route-restricted driver’s license is only availabe for certain
suspensions and not all drivers are eligible. This type of special license
allows a SC driver to drive to and from work, college, ADSAP classes
and any court ordered program while he or she is under suspension.
Drivers under the age of 21 who have been charged with registering an
alcohol concentration of .02 or greater or refusing to submit to a breath,
blood or urine test are not eligible for a route-restricted license.
Temporary Alcohol License
A temporary alcohol license is available to eligible drivers while
they await the outcome of an administrative hearing for registering an
alcohol concentration of .15 or greater, refusing to submit to a breath,
blood or urine test.
Commercial Vehicle Operators (CDL)
It is illegal to operate a CMV if your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) is
.04% or more. You will lose your CDL for one year for your first offense.
You will lose it for life for your second offense. If your blood alcohol
concentration is less than 0.04% but you have any detectable amount,
you will be put out-of-service for 24 hours.
You will lose your CDL for at least one year for a first offense, if you drive
any vehicle under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
If the offense occurs while you are operating a CMV that is placarded
for hazardous materials, you will lose your CDL for at least three years.
You will lose your CDL for life for a second offense. You will also lose
your CDL for life if you use any vehicle to commit a felony involving
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