South Carolina

south_carolinaSouth Carolina DUI Laws

South Carolina has two sets of procedures that you must attend to when you have been charged with a DUI—administrative and judicial. We suggest that you consult with a DUI attorney immediately to make sure you get the best advice for your particular situation as laws are always changing.

Administrative License Revocation (ALR) Procedures
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
South Carolina is one of 42 states that has implemented ALR which means that your license will be confiscated immediately if your BAC is above .15 OR if you refuse a BAC test. Your license will either be suspended or revoked at that point, even though you have not been officially convicted in a criminal trial. In fact, you can be charged with an administrative license suspension even if you are not later charged with a driving under the influence offense. This action was designed to be in addition to and separate from the traditional DUI judicial conviction penalties such as license suspension, jail time, community service hours, ignition interlock device (IID), and alcohol and drug rehabilitation.

You will be given a 10 day grace period during which you can drive under a temporary driving permit issued by the officer at the scene. During that time, you can request a hearing to challenge this case. This case will be heard by an administrative law judge. If you do not request a hearing, your license will be automatically remain suspended on the 11th day for 6 months. After the suspension period, you will have a restricted license allowing you to drive to work or school, health care providers, parole or probation meetings, drug and alcohol counseling, court approved locations and emergencies. South Carolina allows you to install an interlock device in lieu of suspension.

Remember that this is a separate case from the judicial case, with separate authorities and separate rulings. This can be a very important influence upon the judicial procedures, but you must act very quickly if you wish to challenge this.

Judicial Procedures
In South Carolina, the drunk driving law prohibits a person from driving when they have a BAC of .08% or higher. Courts are required to order the installation and monitoring of an interlock device for any driver whose BAC levels are .08% or higher if a second offense. They need to be installed within ninety days after the license suspension ends and serviced every sixty days. The length of time an offender must use an ignition interlock device depends upon the courts, but generally a second DUI results in using the device for two years, three years for a third DUI, and four or more DUIs result in using an ignition interlock for the rest of your life.

The South Carolina ignition interlock device (IID) program is administered by the state’s Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. Driving under the influence (DUI) laws in the state require the installation of an IID for repeat DUI offenders.

IIDs must be installed on any and all vehicles routinely operated by the offender, including vehicles that are not registered to the offender. If the offender is required to operate a vehicle as a scope of employment, the offender may be granted an employment exemption for the businesses vehicle. Employment exemptions will not be granted in cases where the vehicle is owned by a business that is wholly or partially owned by the offender, a member of the offender’s household or a member of the offender’s immediate family. An employer’s exemption is only for the business’s vehicle for business purposes and does not dismiss the requirement of an IID on other routinely operated vehicles.

License Revocation, Fines and Jail

First Offense – Misdemeanor

  • BAC of 0.08% to less than 0.10%: 48 hours to 30 days in jail (possible 48 hours of public service employment in lieu of the minimum 48 hours jail time), up to $400 fine, 6 months license suspension, mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program
  • BAC of 0.10% to less than 0.16%: 72 hours to 30 days in jail (possible 72 hours of public service employment in lieu of the minimum 72 hours jail time), up to $500 in fines, 6 months license suspension, mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program
  • BAC of 0.16% or above: 30 to 90 days in jail (possible 30 days of public service employment in lieu of the minimum 30 days jail time), up to $1,000 in fines, 6 months license suspension, mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program

Second Offense – Misdemeanor

  • BAC of 0.08% to less than 0.10%: 5 days to 1 year in jail, $2,100 to $5,100 in fines, 1 year license suspension, 2 years ignition interlock restriction upon license reinstatement after suspension, mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program.
  • BAC of 0.10% to less than 0.16%: 30 days to 2 years in jail, $2,500 to $5,500 fine, 1 year license suspension, 2 years ignition interlock restriction upon license reinstatement after suspension, mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program.
  • BAC of 0.16% or more: 90 days to 3 years in jail, $3,500 to $6,500 fine, 1 year license suspension, 2 years ignition interlock restriction upon license reinstatement after suspension, mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program.

Third Offense – Misdemeanor

  • BAC of 0.08% to less than 0.10%: 60 days to 3 years in jail, $3,800 to $6,300 in fines, 2 years license suspension (4 years if within 5 years of first offense), 3 years ignition interlock restriction upon license reinstatement after suspension, mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program.
  • BAC of 0.10% to less than 0.16%: 90 days to 4 years in jail, $5,000 to $7,500 fine, 2 years license suspension (4 years if within 5 years of first offense), 3 years ignition interlock restriction upon license reinstatement after suspension, mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program.
  • BAC of 0.16% or more: 6 months to 5 years in jail, $7,500 to $10,000 in fines, 2 years license suspension (4 years if within 5 years of first offense), 3 years ignition interlock restriction upon license reinstatement after suspension, mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program

Fourth Offence – Felony

  • BAC of 0.08% to less than 0.10%: 1 to 5 years in jail, up to $25,000 fine, permanent license revocation (may petition circuit court for reinstatement after 7 years), lifetime ignition interlock restriction if and when license is reinstated (may apply to remove interlock restriction after 10 years), mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program.
  • BAC of 0.10% to less than 0.16%: 2 to 6 years in jail, up to $25,000 fine, permanent license revocation (may petition circuit court for reinstatement after 7 years), lifetime ignition interlock restriction if and when license is reinstated (may apply to remove interlock restriction after 10 years), mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program.
  • BAC of 0.16% or more: 3 to 7 years in jail, up to $25,000 fine, permanent license revocation (may petition circuit court for reinstatement after 7 years), lifetime ignition interlock restriction if and when license is reinstated (may apply to remove interlock restriction after 10 years), mandatory alcohol and drug safety action program

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