What Are the DUI Conviction Penalties in South Carolina

In South Carolina, driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is illegal and can have serious legal consequences. To convict a driver of a DUI, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was driving a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. You’ll face stiff DUI conviction penalties if found guilty, even for a first offense.

A Charleston DUI attorney can help you fight these charges to hopefully obtain a more lenient sentence or dismiss the case altogether, if possible.

DUI Conviction Penalties for a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Offense

If you’re found guilty of drunk driving, there are various DUI conviction penalties you may be facing depending on the severity of the offense.

1st Offense

If convicted of a first DUI in South Carolina, you’ll face a fine ranging from $400 to $1,000 and a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours. The maximum jail time for a first offense is 30 days. Your license will also be suspended for six months. After 30 days, you may be eligible for a provisional driving license to work or school.

2nd Offense

A second DUI conviction within 10 years means a mandatory minimum of 5 days in jail and a maximum of 3 years. Fines also increase to between $2,100 and $5,100. Your license will be suspended for one year, with the possibility of a provisional license after 6 months. You’ll also have to complete an alcohol education program.

3rd Offense

For a third DUI conviction, the penalties become even more severe. You can expect 60 days to 3 years of jail time and fines from $3,800 to $6,300. Your license will be suspended for 2 years minimum. At this point, the court may also require you to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle to monitor your alcohol levels before allowing you to drive again.

getting convicted for DUI carries severe penalties

Felony DUI Charges in South Carolina

If you’ve been charged with a felony DUI in South Carolina, you face some serious penalties. A felony DUI means either:

You’ve Had Multiple Prior DUI Convictions

If you’ve been convicted of three or more DUIs in the last 10 years, your latest charge will be upgraded to a felony. For a fourth offense, you’ll face $3,800 to $6,300 in fines and up to six years in prison. For a fifth or subsequent offense, fines increase from $5,100 to $10,100, and up to ten years behind bars.

Your DUI Caused Injury Or Death

A DUI that involves great bodily injury will result in $5,100 to $10,100 in fines and 30 days to fifteen years in prison.

Offenders will be subject to an ignition interlock restriction for three years. A DUI that involves a fatality will result in $10,100 to $25,100 in fines and one to 25 years in prison. The driver will also be subject to an ignition interlock restriction for five years.

Other Penalties for a Felony DUI Include

  • Driver’s license suspension: Felony DUI convictions result in license suspensions of at least five years. For repeat offenders or when a DUI causes injury, suspensions last at least ten years.
  • Ignition interlock device: Offenders must install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for at least five years. The device prevents the vehicle from starting if it detects alcohol on the driver’s breath.
  • Probation and community service: Up to five years of probation and at least 60 hours of community service are common sentences for felony DUI.
  • Treatment program: Offenders may be required to complete an alcohol abuse treatment program. Failure to complete the program can lead to jail time and further license suspension.

Reach Out to an Experienced Charleston DUI Lawyer

If you’ve been charged with a DUI in South Carolina, you’re going to need help from an experienced attorney. DUI laws in South Carolina are complex, and DUI conviction penalties are severe. Don’t go it alone—hire a local DUI lawyer who knows the courts and laws in our state like the back of their hand.

Reach out to Charleston DUI Guy today at (843) 277-8711 for a free case review and consultation.