In Criminal, DUI

Receiving a ticket for a South Carolina DUI is stressful, costly, and potentially life altering. Under section 56-5-2930 of the SC code, it is unlawful for any person to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. South Carolina DUI laws prohibit driving when a person’s blood alcohol concentration level is greater than .08%.

The fact that a chemical test shows a blood alcohol level of .08% or more will trigger an arrest for DUI in South Carolina. You don’t have to act drunk or display suspicious behavior – the intoxication while diving is enough. Additionally, you can be arrested for driving under the influence if your blood alcohol level is under .08%. In other words, if you have a blood alcohol level over the legal limit or you display intoxicated behavior, you can be arrested for driving under the influence in SC.

The DUI Process

When the blue lights flash in your rearview mirror, it’s a scary feeling. If the officer suspects you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she will begin building a case against you. The officer will ask for two things: 1) a field sobriety test, and 2) a breathalyzer test. You are not required to submit to either, but there are penalties if you refuse. For instance, under SC DUI laws, if you refuse a breathalyzer, your license can be automatically suspended for up to 6 months.

If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, also known as a breathalyzer, the officer will confiscate your driver’s license and likely arrest you. You will be given a notice of suspension, which provides you with a right to a hearing on the suspension within 30 days of the arrest. During that time, you can request a temporary alcohol license so you can drive while awaiting the hearing. If you fail to request a hearing or you do not win, then your license will automatically be suspended for 6 months.

DUI Penalties

South Carolina DUI laws carry the following penalties for a first offense:

  • Possible jail time depending on the breathalyzer results.
  • Possible community service.
  • There will be a fine.
  • You will be required to attend a DUI class.
  • An ignition interlock may be required.
  • License suspension may also occur.


Second Offense DUIs in South Carolina carry stiffer penalties – more fines, more community service, and longer ignition interlock requirements. Third and Fourth DUI’s carry harsh penalties. If you are convicted a fourth time your driver’s license will be revoked, you will face stiff fines of up to $10,000, and you will serve extensive jail time.

Other Considerations

There are many reasons why a DUI conviction can haunt you. The above penalties are certainly a deterrence. There are other consideration, too, which are listed below:

  • If you are a minor, there is a zero-tolerance DUI law in South Carolina.
  • With each DUI, your insurance company will make life tough.
  • You will be forced to file an SR22 form with the state.
  • Commercial drivers could forfeit their CDL for a year or more when convicted of DUI.

These and other concerns are important to understand. Driving under the influence triggers an avalanche of laws, penalties, and law enforcement personalities to come after you. Knowing South Carolina laws can be tricky.

Final Thoughts

Handling a DUI in South Carolina can be stressful. The penalties are stiff, and the legal process is intimidating. You need a team on your side. Get help navigating your way through SC DUI laws, learn more about what a car accident attorney can do for you, about John Henderson, and contact us for any question.

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