South Carolina takes an extremely tough stance against drunk drivers with a variety of regulations and escalating penalties. There are three sets of laws concerning DUI and your penalty can even be affected by your age and profession.
Another set of laws apply if you are driving with an unlawful alcohol content (DUAC) that is lower than the .08 blood alcohol minimum but there is evidence to show you were impaired. But for practical purposes, the two charges, DUI and DUAC, are interchangeable in South Carolina and carry the same penalties.
What you need to know is that:
- for most drivers the legal limit is a blood alcohol content of .08, the same limit that’s in place nationwide.
- for commercial drivers the standard is much stricter, .04.
- for drivers under age 21, a .02 reading is the limit.
South Carolina has an added twist however: the higher your blood alcohol content, the more penalties you face in terms of possible incarceration, fees and probation. Attorney Matt Bodman is an expert on these laws and can aggressively defend you.
Perhaps the worst consequence would be a jail or prison sentence, which is more likely if you are a repeat offender or caused a serious or fatal accident. For a first-time offender, you can be sentenced to between two and 90 days in jail, depending on the blood alcohol level you had while driving. Sentences are escalated as charges increase. For example, a fourth offense could get you a sentence of between one and seven years.
But Attorney Matt Bodman knows how to attack the case against you based on blood alcohol tests, illegal arrest, loss of evidence, Miranda warnings, and other factors.
Loss of License
South Carolina’s strict Implied Consent rule means that if a police officer asks you to take a chemical test and you refuse, you will be fined and automatically lose your license for:
- 6 months for a first offense.
- 9 months for a second offense.
- 1 year for a third or subsequent offense.
That’s prior to any court appearances. And, if you are convicted you will lose your license for an extended period of time – and depending on your record, possibly for life.
Other Costly Consequences
If you are convicted of DUI and not incarcerated, you will still face serious consequences. These include:
- Fines – from $400 for a first-time offender to $10,000 for a fourth offense.
- Ignition Interlock Device – required after a second, and sometimes third offense at your expense.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, don’t hesitate to contact Matt Bodman, P.A.