The holiday season can be stressful. With decorations, parties, gifts, visitors, and meals, many Columbia residents may be tempted to relax by drinking. Unfortunately, this contributes to an increase in drunk drivers during the holiday season. South Carolina law enforcement agencies know this, and combat the trend with increased DUI enforcement during the holiday season. Learn more about the consequences of a DUI conviction and how DUI enforcement is increased around the holidays. And if you or a loved one has been arrested on suspicion of DUI, be sure to contact an experienced Columbia DUI attorney as soon as possible.
The Consequences of a First Time DUI in South Carolina
The South Carolina Code of Laws sets sentencing guidelines for first time DUI convictions. Code § 56-5- 2933 requires a fine of $400 or imprisonment for a period of forty-eight hours to thirty days. If the defendant's blood alcohol concentration was between .1 and .16, the sentence must be a fine of $500 or imprisonment for a period of seventy-two hours to thirty days. This can be served through community service with the defendant's consent and in the court's discretion. If the defendant's blood alcohol concentration was over .16, he or she must be fined $1000 or sentenced to a jail term between thirty and ninety days. A person convicted of any DUI offense must complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. If the defendant's blood alcohol concentration was at or above .15, Code § 56-5- 2941 also requires an ignition interlock device to be installed in his or her vehicle.
How South Carolina Law Enforcement Increases DUI Enforcement During the Holidays
Like many other states, the South Carolina law enforcement community has implemented heightened enforcement efforts to combat the increase in drunk driving around the holiday season. Kingstree News reports that the South Carolina Department of Public Safety launched a DUI enforcement blitz (Sober or Slammer!) during the 2014-2015 holiday season. The event was held in conjunction with the Lexington County Sheriff's Office, and was part of a larger year-round DPS initiative (Target Zero) aimed at eliminating traffic fatalities in South Carolina. The event also ran concurrently with a federal campaign (Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over) hosted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
South Carolina drivers should note the vast number of agencies involved in many different drunk driving campaigns. Drunk driving is dangerous at any time of year, but arrests are particularly common during times of heightened enforcement. Local, state and federal law enforcement agencies spent large sums of money to increase drunk driving enforcement during the holiday season. Prevent the dangerous consequences of drunk driving - and the costly consequences of a DUI conviction - by designating a sober driver. Ride sharing apps such as Lyft and Uber have made it easier than ever to get a ride when and where you need it. Accept personal responsibility for keeping the roads of South Carolina safe by creating backup plans, so you will never be tempted to drive while intoxicated.
If you are arrested for DUI, contact an experienced Columbia DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. You have important constitutional rights which must be protected.