Criminal Defense Attorney Columbia, South Carolina

DUI Penalties and Ignition Interlock Requirements in South Carolina

Man using an ignition interlock device in his car.

The Ignition Interlock Program in South Carolina is part of the state's efforts to combat drunk driving. This program targets people aged 21 and above convicted of driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) that exceeds the legal limit of .08%.

Those convicted face harsh legal consequences, depending on the severity and frequency of DUI charges. Additionally, they're subjected to ignition interlock device requirements, which aim to prevent recurrences of drunk driving.

The Ignition Interlock Program underscores South Carolina's strict stance on DUI offenses, stressing the importance of understanding your legal rights in such situations.

If you find yourself facing DUI charges and the potential implications of the Ignition Interlock Program, consulting with a skilled DUI defense lawyer is crucial. An experienced attorney can work to protect your rights and seek the best possible outcome in your case, potentially mitigating the impact of these charges on your life.

How does an ignition interlock work?

An ignition interlock device is a breathalyzer installed at your expense in your vehicle after a DUI conviction. It's connected in a way that a vehicle only starts after you pass a breath alcohol test. Before starting your vehicle, you would blow into the device to measure your alcohol concentration.

If the measured alcohol level is above the pre-set limit, the device prevents your vehicle from starting. To ensure that you remain sober while driving, the interlock device may require re-tests at random intervals (also called "rolling re-tests").

These devices log all test results, including passed and failed tests, as well as any attempts to tamper with the results. This data is periodically reviewed by the relevant authorities or a designated monitoring agency.

When do I need to install an ignition interlock?

The consequences of a DUI in South Carolina extend beyond immediate penalties. Eligibility for a restricted license is contingent upon adhering to ignition interlock requirements. Here's what to expect:

  • First offense: Potential incarceration for up to 30 days, a six-month license suspension, a $400 fine, and the installation of an ignition interlock device for BAC levels exceeding .15.
  • Second offense: Imprisonment ranging from five days to one year, a fine of up to $5,100, a one-year license suspension, and mandatory ignition interlock device installation.
  • Third offense: Jail time from 60 days to three years, a fine of up to $6,300, a three-year license suspension, and ignition interlock device installation. Vehicle confiscation is possible if the third offense occurs within ten years of the first.
  • Fourth offense: Offenders face up to five years in prison and permanent license revocation.

How do I qualify for a route-restricted driver's license in South Carolina?

A route-restricted driver's license allows you to travel to specific, necessary destinations such as work, school, medical appointments, or other pre-approved locations. To qualify for this license, you must adhere to stringent requirements under South Carolina's ignition interlock laws, including a mandatory installation.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Possess a valid South Carolina driver's license.
  • Satisfy all conditions associated with any previous license suspensions.
  • Enroll in the Alcohol Drug and Safety Action Program.
  • Pay all outstanding license fees and fines.
  • Show proof of SR-22 insurance.
  • Agree to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle.

Contact a South Carolina DUI defense attorney

If you're facing DUI charges in South Carolina, your freedom and future could be at stake. That's why it's important to understand your rights and speak to an experienced South Carolina DUI defense lawyer.

Attorney Matt Bodman has extensive knowledge of South Carolina's legal system and knows how to devise strong legal defenses for his clients. He can also fight to have your charges dropped or reduced.

Contact attorney Bodman today to schedule a free consultation or call his law office in Columbia, SC. He'll take the time to learn the details about your DUI charge and answer any questions you have.

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