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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 South Carolina DUI defense attorney can provide information about the charge, the possible penalties, and what to expect in court.

South Carolina Drunk Driving Laws

In South Carolina, a person may be charged with driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more. However, drivers under the age of 21 years old may be charged with this offense for having a BAC of .02% or more. Commercial drivers may be charged with this offense with a BAC of .04% or more.

Implied Consent: Yes

Enhanced Penalties: BAC of .10% to .16%; BAC of .16% or more; driving under the influence with a child in the car; causing great bodily injury or death

Typically, a DUI or DUAC is a misdemeanor offense, and the penalties increase with the number of previous convictions and BAC level. Some penalties, such as community service or alcohol evaluation and treatment, may be imposed for any offense. South Carolina law imposes sentencing minimums for the first three offenses, including:

  • First offense: not less than 48 hours nor more than up to 30 days in jail; a $400 fine; a six-month license revocation
  • Second offense: Not less than 5 days nor more than 1 year one year jail; not less than a $2,100 – $5,100 fine; a one-year license revocation
  • Third offense: Not less than 60 days to up to 3 years imprisonment; not less than a $3,800 fine to $6,300 fine; and a two to four-year license revocation

However, a felony offense comes with more severe penalties for circumstances such as:

  • Four or more offenses
  • Causing great bodily injury to another person
  • Causing the death of another person

DUI Defense in South Carolina

It can be difficult to fight DUI charges on your own. A qualified South Carolina DUI defense attorney can review the facts of your case to see where the weaknesses are. This includes reviewing police reports, arrest reports, and chemical testing laboratory report analysis. In some situations, it may be in your best interest to negotiate a plea agreement to reduce the charges but you should first talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your options.

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