Factors That Can Increase the Costs of a DUI in SC

If you’re facing charges of driving under the influence, you may be wondering what to expect in terms of fines and costs. The truth is, the financial toll depends on things like if you hurt someone, how much damage you caused, and whether this is your first offense. Unfortunately, the costs of a DUI often ends up being higher than the fine itself.

Read on to find out what factors can increase the costs of your DUI charges and how a Charleston DUI defense lawyer can help you.

1. Your BAC Was 0.10 Percent or Above

If you’re pulled over in South Carolina with a BAC of 0.10 percent or higher, you’ll face an additional $100 fine on top of the standard penalties. The higher your BAC, the steeper the fine. A BAC over 0.15 percent means an extra $600 charge. These fines are meant as punishment for putting others in danger by driving while severely impaired.

With a BAC of 0.10 percent or above, you’re also facing at least 72 hours of community service or a few days in jail. If over 0.15 percent, that increases to a minimum of 30 days. The judge determines whether you serve time in jail or perform community service. Either way, it means time away from work, family, and any normal routine.

2. This Isn’t Your First DUI

If this is your second (or third!) DUI in South Carolina, you’re in for a world of hurt. The state takes a very dim view of repeat offenders, and the penalties reflect that.

Fines and Fees For a second DUI, fines start at $2,100 and climb to $5,100. The state also tacks on a bunch of surcharges and assessments that can total $1,200 or more. Combined, you’re looking at $3,300 to $6,300 in fines and fees alone.

3. You Are Being Charged with a Felony DUI

If you’re charged with a felony DUI in South Carolina, you’re facing some major legal consequences. As the talking points mentioned, you’ll face hefty mandatory fines starting at $5,100 and possibly years of imprisonment, depending on whether the accident caused injury or death.

A felony DUI conviction has lasting impacts that go beyond the initial penalties. It will remain on your criminal record permanently, affecting future employment, housing, and other opportunities. Some states may revoke or suspend your license for up to 10 years.

some factors increase your DUI penalties

4. You Refused the Breath Test

Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer test after being pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving will end up costing you in the long run. By refusing the breath test, your driver’s license will automatically be suspended for 90 days. If you have any previous drunk driving offenses in the past 10 years, the suspension extends to 180 days.

In addition to losing your license, you’ll face legal penalties for refusing the breath test. You’ll be charged with an implied consent violation, which is a criminal offense in itself. This can lead to fines, jail time, or both. The implied consent law says that by driving in South Carolina, you consent to provide a breath sample if suspected of drunk driving. Refusing is seen as unlawfully withdrawing that consent.

5. You Had an Open Container in Your Vehicle

For starters, you can expect to pay a fine of at least $100 for the open container, in addition to the standard DUI fines. The exact amount will depend on the judge and county, but it’s not uncommon for total fines in these situations to reach $500-$1,000 or more.

You may also be sentenced to perform extra community service hours or even spend more time in jail. While a first DUI offense typically only carries 48 hours to 90 days in jail, the presence of an open container could add another 30 days. The judge has discretion on such additional penalties.

A Charleston Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer Can Help Lower the Costs of a DUI

If you’re wondering how to lower the costs of a DUI charge, you need to consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney in Charleston right away. The sooner you get legal counsel involved in your case, the better.

An initial consultation with Charleston DUI Guy is always free and confidential. We’ll review the details of your arrest, discuss your options moving forward, and determine the best defense strategies for your unique situation.

Call us today at (843) 277-8711!