Contact experienced DUI Lawyer Joshua Bailey if you are arrested for DUI (Driving Under the Influence).
The State of South Carolina defines DUI and DUAC as stated below.
DUI – The South Carolina DUI law states:“It is unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle within this State while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired, under the influence of any other drug or a combination of other drugs or substances which cause impairment to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired, or under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drug or drugs or substances which cause impairment to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired.” Section 56-5-2930
DUAC- South Carolina has also enacted a statute that makes it illegal to drive a motor vehicle in this state “while [a person’s] alcohol concentration is 0.08 percent or more.” Being “impaired” is not an element to DUAC, meaning that you may still be perfectly capable of driving, however, you are guilty of DUAC if you BAC is .08% or more. Section 56-5-2933.
Convictions for DUI and DUAC come with the same sentencing penalties. The state looks back 10 years from the date of offense to determine whether you have a “prior” DUI / DUAC conviction. 56-5-2930(D), 56-5-2933(D).
A conviction of DUI 1st Offense in South Carolina can result in a fine, driver’s license suspension, and community service. In South Carolina, DUI is considered a first offense if the driver has no prior DUI convictions within the past ten years. Upon conviction, sentence may range as follows:
Jail – A first-offense DUI generally carries 48 hours to 30 days in jail. But if the driver had BAC of at least .10% but less than .16% , the minimum jail time is increased to seven days. And if the offender had a BAC of .16% or greater, the jail time is 30 to 90 days. Judges can allow an equal amount of community service in place of jail time.
Fines – A person who’s convicted of a first DUI must pay a fine of $400. Drivers with a BAC of at least .10% but less than .16% will pay a $500 fine, while drivers with a BAC of .16% or greater will pay a $1,000 fine.
Treatment – All persons convicted of a DUI must complete the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP). This requirement consists of the convicted person completing and alcohol and drug evaluation and then following recommendations of the evaluation.
Suspension of Driver’s License – Judges will suspend the first offender’s license for six months. Drivers enrolled in the ADSAP program can obtain a provisional license which permits them to drive during the suspension period.
BAC of .15% or more –Drivers with a BAC of .15% or more will also receive an additional one-month suspension at the time of arrest and are ineligible to receive a provisional license. They can get an ignition interlock restricted license after conviction that allows them to drive only with the use of and ignition interlock device, often referred to IID.
Drivers that refused chemical testing will also be eligible for the IID license but not the provisional license.
In the event you are convicted of a DUI, or DUAC, your license to drive will be suspended for at least 6 months. However, after a conviction, you may apply for a provisional license if you blew under .15%. A Provisional License is different from a Route Restricted License, an Ignition Interlock Restricted License, and others.
Provisional License, eligibility:
1. You did not refuse a Breathalyzer (if so, you need an IID and an Ignition Interlock Restricted License, not a Provisional License)
2. You did not blow over a .15% (if so, you need an IID and an Ignition Interlock Restricted License, not a Provisional License)
3. You have or have had a valid driver license
4. You have no other suspensions – except for an implied consent suspension resulting from the same incident
5. You must be enrolled in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP); and
6. You must pay the $100.00 fee.
New legislation called “Emma’s Law” changed many things about the way South Carolina handles DUI convictions with the most notable changes to the Ignition Interlock requirements. There is also a new point system associated with the Ignition Interlock Device program.
The new law increases the burdens for DUI convictions requiring IID in some circumstances, but also enables drivers to continue driving with an IID rather than having their driver’s license suspended.
The statute specifically says, “once a person has enrolled in the Ignition Interlock Device Program and obtained an ignition interlock restricted license, the person is subject to Section 56-5-2941 and cannot subsequently choose to serve the suspension.” After installing an IID, you cannot turn it in and undergo the suspension period.
If you are convicted of DUI and you blew .15% or higher, you are REQUIRED to install an IID in your vehicle and will also be issued an Ignition Interlock Restricted License. In order to get your license back EVER you have to successfully complete 6 months or more with the IID. You cannot wait out this 6 month period without installing the IID. This means that if you choose to do nothing for 2 years and then want to get your license back, you then have to complete 6 successful months with the IID along with any ADSAP requirements.
If you are convicted of DUI and you blew between .08% and .14%:
First-time offenders with a BAC of 0.08% to 0.14% who have their licenses suspended may choose to use an IID instead of a license suspension.
If you are convicted of a 2nd or subsequent DUI with a 0.08% BAC or higher, the interlock device has to be used for at least two years.
If you are convicted of DUI and refused a Breathalyzer:
Your license will be suspended for 6 months, but you are NOT required to install an IID in your vehicle or get an Ignition Interlock Restricted License. You can choose to wait out the 6 month period without completing 6 months of IID. But, if you want to get back on the road without waiting, there is no way around the IID and Ignition Interlock Restricted License.