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Florence South Carolina DUI FAQs

It is illegal in the State of South Carolina to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above. The limit is lower for commercial drivers and drivers under the age of 21. The .08 limit is the standard measurement of the “impaired” driver throughout the United States. In addition to alcohol, it is also illegal to drive in South Carolina under the influence of controlled substances such as marijuana, cocaine, inhalants and other intoxicating substances. If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI in South Carolina, you’ll want as much information as possible about the crime and its consequences, and you may need an experienced DUI attorney. What does the prosecutor have to prove in order to get a conviction? What’s the sentence range and what factors might affect a judge’s decision to impose a lower or higher sentence? Most importantly, are there any legally-recognized defenses to this charge? The following are answers to a few Florence South Carolina DUI FAQs and should be used for informational purposes only and are subject to change.

DUI

How much do you have to drink for a DUI in South Carolina?

Under 21: .02% BAC | 21 or Older .08% BAC | Commercial .04% BAC

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in South Carolina?

There isn’t one correct answer to this question, there are calculators and tables that can serve as a reference; however, these devices cannot predict with certainty what your exact BAC level will be at a given time. There are many factors that contribute to an individual’s BAC score, including weight, sex, body-fat percentage and the time interval between drinks. Studies have shown that a person’s BAC could go up between .01 and.05 percent for each drink taken. The fact is it takes very little alcohol to become legally drunk and each drink taken is a another step closer to becoming an “impaired” driver. The best answer is not to drink and drive. The State of South Carolina has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in South Carolina, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in South Carolina?

South Carolina’s implied consent law means that any person who drives a motor vehicle on the roadways of the state is considered to have given their consent to a chemical test of their blood, breath or urine if they are detained by law enforcement who believes the driver was driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both. If you refuse to submit to such a test, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended for at least 90 days. In addition you can still be charged and convicted of a DUI without a chemical test if the arresting officer convinces the court that you were intoxicated while operating a motor vehicle.

Can you plead to a lesser offense than DUI in South Carolina?

No, a plea bargain for a conviction of “wet reckless” (reckless driving involving alcohol) is barred by statute in South Carolina.

What are the penalties for operating a motor vehicle while under influence of alcohol or drugs?

FIRST OFFENSE

  • Fine of $400 or imprisonment for not less than 48 hours or more than 30 days.
  • In lieu of the 48 hour minimum imprisonment, the court may allow you to perform 48 hours of public service. If your alcohol concentration is at least 0.10% but less than 0.16%
  • Fine of $500 or imprisonment for not less than 72 hours or more than 30 days.
  • In lieu of the 72 hour minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for 72 hours of public service. If your alcohol concentration is 0.16% or more
  • Fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for not less than 30 days or more than 90 days.
  • In lieu of the 30 day minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for 30 days of public service. A first offense charged for this item may be tried in a magistrate court.

SECOND OFFENSE

  • Fine of not less than $2,100 nor more than $5,100
  • Imprisonment for not less than 5 days nor more than one year. If your alcohol concentration is at least 0.10% but less than 0.16% :
  • Fine of not less than $2,500 or more than $5,500.
  • Imprisonment for not less than 30 days or more than two years. If your alcohol concentration is 0.16% or more
  • Fine of not less than $3,500 nor more than 46,500
  • Imprisonment for not less than 90 days or more than three years. A person convicted of or pleading guilty to a second or subsequent DUI must surrender the registration and license plate for all motor vehicles owned or registered to him/her for a period of 30 days unless the vehicle has been confiscated. A fee of $50 must be paid to the DMV for each motor vehicle suspended before any of the registrations or license plates may be registered or before the motor vehicle may be released pursuant to subsection.

THIRD OFFENSE

  • Fine of not less than $3,800 nor more than $6,300
  • Imprisonment for not less than 60 days or more than three years. If your alcohol concentration is at least 0.10% but less than 0.16%
  • Fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $7,500
  • Imprisonment for not less than 90 days or more than four years. If your alcohol concentration is 0.16% or more
  • Fine of not less than $7,500 nor more than $10,000
  • Imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than five years; or

FOURTH OR SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE

  • Imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years. If your alcohol concentration is at least 0.10% but less than 0.16%
  • Imprisonment for not less than two years or more than six years. If your alcohol concentration is 0.16% or more
  • Imprisonment for not less than three years or more than seven years. How many years can separate the offenses? Only those violations which occurred within a period of ten years including and immediately preceding the date of the last violation constitute prior violations.

What is an ignition interlocking device?

The Department of Motor Vehicles must require the person, if he or she is a subsequent offender and a resident of this State, to have installed on any motor vehicle the person drives, an ignition interlock device designed to prevent driving of the motor vehicle if the person has consumed alcoholic beverages. The length of time that an interlock device is required to be affixed to a motor vehicle following the completion of a period of license suspension imposed on the offender is two years for a second offense, three years for a third offense, and the remainder of the offender’s life for a fourth or subsequent offense.

The cost of the interlock device must be borne by the offender. This fee is not to exceed $360 per year for each year the person is required to drive a vehicle with an ignition interlock device. The interlock device must be inspected every 60 days to verify that the device is affixed to the motor vehicle and properly operating. This report will indicate the offender’s alcohol content at each attempt to start the vehicle during each 60-day period. If your alcohol level is too high, the vehicle will not start.

The offender shall be subject to an Interlock Device Point System managed by the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. An offender receiving a total of two points will have their length of time that the interlock device is required extended by two months. An offender receiving a total of three points will have their length of time that the interlock device is required extended by four months and must submit to a substance abuse assessment and successfully complete the plan of education and treatment, or both, as recommended by the certified substance abuse program. If you do not complete the recommended plan, or do not make progress toward completing the plan, the Department of Motor Vehicles must suspend your driver’s license until the plan is completed or progress is being made toward completing the plan. An offender receiving a total of four points shall have their license suspended for a period of one year and submit to a substance abuse assessment and successfully complete the plan of education and treatment, or both, as recommended by the certified substance abuse program. Completion of the plan is mandatory as a condition of reinstatement of the person’s driving privileges. The Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services is responsible for notifying the Department of Motor Vehicles of an individual’s completion and compliance with education and treatment programs.

For a free consultation to discuss your legal options, contact us or call our office at (843) 667.0400.