What Are the Penalties for a DUI in South Carolina?

Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense that can have long-lasting consequences for anyone in Charleston, South Carolina. If you have been arrested and charged with a DUI, it’s important to understand the potential penalties you may face.

From fines and license suspension to jail time and mandatory alcohol education classes, a conviction can impact your life in many ways.

We’ll explore the different levels of DUI in South Carolina and what kind of penalties each one carries. We’ll also discuss why it’s crucial to hire an experienced Charleston DUI attorney who can help protect your rights.

The Different Types of DUI in South Carolina

In South Carolina, DUI offenses are divided into three types. The first kind is known as a “per se” DUI charge. This applies when a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) exceeds the legal limit of 0.08% during their arrest.

The second is an “impairment” DUI charge. This applies when a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely is impaired due to drugs or alcohol, regardless of their BAC.

The third is an aggravated DUI charge. This occurs when a driver causes serious injury or death while driving under the influence.

It’s important to note that any DUI charge can have significant consequences and should be taken seriously. If you’re facing DUI charges in Charleston, speaking with an experienced attorney who can protect your rights at every step is crucial.

First Offense DUI Penalties

A first-offense DUI in South Carolina is usually classified as a misdemeanor crime, but it can still have serious consequences.

The most common penalty for a first-time offense is fines ranging from $400 to $1,000. Additionally, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months. You may also face community service and mandatory participation in drug or alcohol education programs.

In some cases, you could also face jail time of up to 30 days. However, this sentence can typically be avoided with the help of an experienced Charleston DUI attorney who knows how to negotiate with prosecutors and judges.

It’s worth noting that even if you’re not convicted of DUI charges in court, there could still be administrative penalties through the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This can include suspension or revocation of your driver’s license.

Take any criminal charge seriously and seek legal representation immediately after being charged with a DUI.

Second Offense DUI Penalties

If you have been convicted of a second DUI offense in Charleston, the penalties can be much more severe than those for a first-time offender. Second-offense DUIs are classified as misdemeanors and have significant consequences, including fines, license suspension, and possible jail time.

The fine for a second offense DUI in Charleston can range from $2,500 to $5,000. Your driver’s license will also be suspended for two years after your conviction. You may be eligible for restricted driving privileges during this time, but only if you install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

Jail time is another penalty that comes with a second offense DUI conviction. The minimum sentence is 48 hours and can go up to three years, depending on your case’s circumstances.

A drunk driver who needs a Charleston DUI lawyer.

In addition to these penalties, you will also face mandatory alcohol treatment programs and community service requirements. These requirements are designed to help prevent future drunk driving incidents while promoting responsible behavior behind the wheel.

It is important to remember that every case is unique, and it’s critical to hire an experienced Charleston DUI attorney who has knowledge of South Carolina law regarding multiple offenses so they can provide legal guidance based on your specific situation.

Third Offense DUI Penalties

The penalties can be severe if you are facing a third DUI offense. It is important to understand what you may face so that you can prepare accordingly.

Third-offense DUI convictions carry mandatory jail time of at least 60 days and up to five years in prison. Fines range from $3,500 to $10,000, and your driver’s license will be suspended for four years. You may also have an ignition interlock device installed on your vehicle.

In addition to legal consequences, a third DUI conviction can have long-lasting personal and professional impacts. Your reputation may suffer as potential employers or landlords could view a criminal record negatively.

Hiring an experienced Charleston DUI attorney is crucial if facing a third-offense charge. They will work tirelessly to help mitigate the consequences of your case and protect your rights throughout the legal process.

Remember that driving under the influence is illegal and dangerous for both yourself and others on the road. Always plan before drinking or using drugs by arranging alternative transportation, such as calling a taxi or using ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft.

The Importance of Hiring a Charleston DUI Attorney

Getting charged with a DUI in Charleston can have severe consequences, ranging from hefty fines and license suspension to imprisonment. If you find yourself in this situation, hiring an experienced Charleston DUI attorney is essential to help protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case.

A skilled Charleston DUI attorney will be familiar with local laws and court procedures, allowing them to create a strong defense strategy tailored to your case. They’ll thoroughly investigate the charges against you, gather evidence, and challenge any inconsistencies or inaccuracies in the prosecution’s case.

Furthermore, a knowledgeable DUI lawyer can negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf, potentially reducing or dismissing charges altogether. Without legal representation from an experienced lawyer, individuals charged with a DUI may face harsh penalties that could significantly impact their lives for years to come.

Ultimately, hiring a qualified Charleston DUI attorney is crucial if you want to avoid costly fines and lengthy jail time while protecting your driving privileges.

Hire a Qualified Charleston Criminal Defense Attorney 

If you have been charged with a DUI in Charleston, it is crucial to take this matter seriously. The potential consequences can be severe and far-reaching, affecting your personal and professional life for years to come. Whether you are facing your first or third offense, the best thing you can do is seek an experienced criminal defense attorney specializing in DUI cases.

At Charleston DUI Guy, we understand how overwhelming and stressful this situation can be. That’s why we’re here to help guide you through every step of the legal process. We have extensive experience defending clients against DUI charges in Charleston and are committed to fighting for the best possible outcome on your behalf.

Don’t let a DUI conviction derail your future – contact us today at (843) 277-8711 to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys. We’ll work tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure that you receive fair treatment under the law.