DUI?

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In the State of South Carolina, it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or combination of drugs or alcohol to the extent that the person’s abilities to operate a motor vehicle are impaired.

Upon conviction for driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration, SC law has adopted various penalties depending on how many prior offenses that individual has in regards to DUI and how much alcohol was found within that person’s bloodstream.

DUI Law Help and Legal Support

Experiencing driving under the influence is a heavy and consequential moment for an individual and their family. It can impact your job, finances, health, and lifestyle. But, you don’t have to go at it alone.

The judicial system can be intimidating and tricky for those not familiar. Put your best foot forward by using an experienced DUI lawyer.

First, we meet with our clients to discuss goals, best and worst outcomes, and understand the facts. Second, take immediate steps to get our clients back with a license if at all possible so that they can drive to work. Third, we identify goals and put together a gameplan as to how to achieve them.

Here are the goals we will discuss:

  • No jail time
  • Avoid suspended license
  • Limit or avoid DMV points
  • Dismissing the case

We will discuss whether a trial is better versus reaching a deal. We will discuss tools and training we can use to help improve your deal and outcome.

image of dui beers and car keys
Can I have one or two beers and still be within the legal limit when driving in Charleston SC?

Driving Under The Influence FAQs

DUI Limits and Test

What is the legal limit in Charleston South Carolina?

0.08% is the legal limit of blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

In order to determine whether or not a person is legally considered to be driving under the influence or impaired as a result of alcohol, South Carolina Code of Laws § 56-5-2933 makes it unlawful for a person to drive a vehicle when a person’s blood alcohol concentration is eight one-hundredths (0.08%) of one percent or more.

When an individual is operating a motor vehicle under the influence and there was a reasonable suspicion that justified the traffic stop, a police officer may conduct a breathalyzer test if that officer suspects that a person is under the influence of alcohol.

Individuals who are drivers in the state are considered to have given consent to the testing of breath, blood, and urine for the purpose of determine the presence of alcohol or drugs. However, the breathalyzer or other tests must be conducted within two hours of the traffic stop to ensure that the reading is as accurate as possible. If an individual’s breathalyzer test reads eight one-hundredth’s of one percent (0.08%) or more, than that person is guilty of driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration.

DUI Charges and Penalties

What are the penalties for a DUI in South Carolina?

Depending on how many prior times a person has been arrested and how much alcohol is in their system when they are arrested, there are different penalties.

First Offense
For a first offense, an individual will be charged with either a four-hundred dollar fine ($400) or imprisonment for not less than forty-eight (48) hours nor more than thirty (30) days. However, instead of the forty-eight hour minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for a forty-eight hour public service employment. An offender can choose the minimum prison requirement or the public service employment requirement.

When a person’s alcohol concentration is at least ten one-hundredths of one percent (0.10%) and less than sixteen one-hundredths of one percent (0.16%), then the person shall be punished with a fine of five-hundred dollars ($500) or imprisonment for not less than seventy-two (72) hours and not more than thirty (30) days. However, instead of the seventy-two hour minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for a seventy-two hour public service employment. An offender can choose the minimum prison requirement or the public service employment requirement.

When an individual’s alcohol concentration is at least sixteen one-hundredths of one percent (0.16%) or more, then the person shall be punished with a fine of one-thousand dollar ($1,000) or imprisonment for not less than thirty days and not more than ninety days. However, instead of the thirty day minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for a thirty day public service employment. An offender can choose the minimum prison requirement or the public service employment requirement.

Second Offense
For a second offense, an individual will be charged with a fine of not less than two-thousand one-hundred ($2,100) dollars and not more than five-thousand one-hundred ($5,100) dollars. In addition, they will also be charged with imprisonment for not less than five days and no more than one year.

If the persons alcohol concentration is between ten one-hundredths of one percent (0.10%) and less than sixteen one-hundredths of one percent (0.16%), then the person shall be punished with a fine of not less than two-thousand five-hundred ($2,500) and not greater than five-thousand five-hundred ($5,500) dollars. They will also be charged with imprisonment of not less than thirty days and no longer than two years.

When an individual’s alcohol concentration is at least sixteen one-hundredths of one percent (0.16%) or more, then the person shall be punished with a fine not less than three-thousand five-hundred ($3,500) dollars and not more than six-thousand five-hundred ($6,500) dollars. They will also be charged with imprisonment not less than ninety days or more than three years.

Third Offense
For a third offense, an individual will be charged with a fine of not less than three-thousand eight-hundred ($3,800) dollars and not more than six-thousand three-hundred ($6,300) dollars. They will also be charged with imprisonment that is not less than sixty days and not more than three years.

If the persons alcohol concentration is between ten one-hundredths of one percent (0.10%) and less than sixteen one-hundredths of one percent (0.16%), then the person shall be punished with a fine of not less than five-thousand ($5,000) dollars and not more than seven-thousand five-hundred ($7,500) dollars. They will also be charged with imprisonment not less than ninety days and not more than four years.

When an individual’ s alcohol concentration is at least sixteen one-hundredths of one percent (0.16%) or more, then the person shall be punished with a fine not less than seven-thousand five-hundred ($7,500) dollars and not more than ten-thousand ($10,000) dollars. They will also be punished with imprisonment for not less than six months and not more than five years.

Fourth Offense
For a fourth offense, an individual will be punished with imprisonment not less than one year and not more than five years.

If the person’s alcohol concentration is between ten one-hundredths of one percent (0.10%) and less than sixteen one-hundredths of one percent (0.16%), then the person shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than two years and not more than six years.

When an individual’ s alcohol concentration is at least sixteen one-hundredths of one percent (0.16%) or more, then the person shall be punished with imprisonment for not less than three years and not more than seven years.

DUI Conviction and Suspension

Will my license get suspended if I get a DUI?

Any individual who is found to have driven a vehicle with reckless disregard for the safety of persons or property may have their license suspended. For the first offense, the Department of Motor Vehicles may suspend someone’s license for three months. For subsequent offenses, the license may be suspended for longer durations or possibly indefinitely.

DUI in Charleston, Legal Case Prevented

image of dui police check
How do I look suspicious for DUI? Can I be easily arrested?

We recently had a client contact us about his first DUI. He was leaving an afternoon cookout at a friend’s house. When he looked down to change the radio station to ESPN so he could listen to a football game on the ride home, he slightly crossed the center line. There were no cars coming and nobody was in danger. An officer, however, saw him swerve and pulled him over. While at the cookout, our client had one beer, but that was enough for the officer to smell alcohol. Before he knew it, our client was out of his car and the officer was demanding a breathalyzer. In this instance, our client refused to take the breathalyzer, which suspended his driver’s license for 6 months.

 

When we got involved, we were able to review the recordings and find the officer failed to meet the SC legal requirements for officers under the circumstances. We had our client back driving in weeks. Not all cases work out so well, but when the officers fail to meet protocols, then you have a shot.

Learn more about what a criminal defense attorney can do for you and contact us for any question.

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