South Carolina DUI 101

As in all the other states, drinking and driving is illegal in South Carolina, and if you happen to receive a violation there, here is what you need to know about South Carolina DUI laws.

What Constitutes a South Carolina DUI

If you’re of legal drinking age in South Carolina, all it takes to be convicted of a DUI is a blood alcohol content level, also known as a BAC, of .08 percent. That is the standard in most states. If you are a commercial driver, the corresponding BAC is .04 percent. Anyone under the age of 21 caught with a BAC of at least .02 percent can be convicted of a DUI.

The Penalties

In South Carolina, if you’re convicted of a DUI, the penalties depend on on how high your BAC was at the time of your arrest. These penalties are broken down as follows:

  • For your first South Carolina DUI offense, if you have a BAC of .10 percent or lower, you face a fine of $400 and a license suspension of six months. You can also receive a minimum of 48 hours in jail and up to a maximum of 30 days, or you could be given 48 hours of community service. If your BAC is between .10 percent and .16 percent on your first offense, you face a $500 fine, a six-month suspension of your license, and a minimum of 72 hours of jail time or community service. If you’re caught with a BAC of .16 percent or higher, you could see a minimum of 30 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, and the loss of your license for six months.
  • If you’ve been convicted of a DUI for the second time and your BAC is under .10 percent, you face a minimum fine of $2,100 and a license suspension of one year, as well as a minimum of five days in prison. If your BAC is between .10 percent and .16 percent on your second conviction, the consequences are a suspended license of one year, as well as a minimum of 30 days in jail and $2,500 fine. If you have a BAC of .16 percent or higher, say goodbye to your license for a year and say hello to a minimum $3,500 fine and 90-day jail sentence.
  • If you’re convicted of a third DUI offense and your BAC is under .10 percent, you could face a minimum 60 days in jail and $3,800 fine, plus the suspension of your license for two years. If your BAC is .10 percent to .16 percent, you could also lose your license for two years and face a minimum of $5,000 in fines and 90 days in jail. For a BAC above .16 percent, you’re looking at six months in prison and a fine of $7,500, as well as losing your license for two years.
  • In South Carolina, if you’re convicted of a DUI for a fourth time, you’ll permanently lose your license and face a minimum of one year in jail.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

South Carolina has a law on the books called the Implied Consent Law. This law states that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test after being arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, your license will be suspended and you could face a fine.

The first time you refuse to take a chemical test, the penalties include a six-month license suspension and 48 hours minimum in jail, although a judge can substitute the jail time with community service on the first offense. A second offense could land you in jail for five days, and you could have your license suspended for nine months. If you refuse to take a chemical test on a third occasion, plan to spend 60 days in jail and lose your license for a year.

If you’ve been convicted of multiple DUIs in South Carolina, your vehicle could be subject to the installation of an ignition interlock device at your expense. The court can also order you to participate in an alcohol or drug intervention program.

And as if all that isn’t enough, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will also release and publish the name of anyone who has had their license suspended because of a DUI. So be smart and don’t drink and drive, or else face the possibility of ending up with an injurious South Carolina DUI.