Driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offense in South Carolina, as it endangers the driver and other motorists on the road. Unfortunately, some individuals do not learn their lesson after being charged with DUI and continue to make the same mistake multiple times. A repeat DUI offense can result in severe consequences that can affect your personal life, career, and freedom.
In this article, we will explain what you need to know about repeat DUI offenses in South Carolina and why you need a Charleston DUI lawyer if you’re facing a drunk driving charge.
What Is a Repeat DUI Offense?
Repeated DUI offenses in South Carolina carry significant penalties and consequences. Understanding the laws and potential outcomes of a repeat DUI offense is essential to make informed decisions regarding drinking and driving.
If you have been charged with a second or subsequent DUI offense, it is crucial to seek legal representation immediately. An experienced attorney can help build a strong defense strategy, negotiate plea bargains or reduced charges, and potentially lessen the overall impact of the charges on your life.
Remember that prevention is always better than cure for drunk driving. Plan before going out for drinks with friends, designate a sober driver, or use public transportation services like Uber or Lyft. By taking simple steps such as these, we can all play our part in reducing drunk driving incidents and keeping our roads safer for everyone.
The Penalties for a First, Second, and Third DUI Offense in South Carolina
The penalties for a DUI offense in South Carolina become more severe with each subsequent conviction. A first offense can result in fines, license suspension of up to six months, and mandatory enrollment in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP). Depending on the circumstances, a first-time offender may also face jail time.
A second DUI offense within ten years of the first carries steeper consequences. Fines increase significantly, and the driver’s license revocation period extends to one year. The individual must complete an ADSAP program again and potentially serve five days in jail or perform community service.
If someone is convicted of a third DUI offense within ten years of their previous offenses, it becomes a felony charge. The penalty includes serving at least sixty days but no more than five years behind bars and significant fines, probationary periods upon release from prison – typically involving regular drug testing – continued participation in ADSAP programs after leaving custody.
It is essential to remember that these are only minimum sentencing guidelines; depending on mitigating factors, such as driving under the influence with minors present or causing injury or death while intoxicated, may lead to harsher punishments.
The Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Each Offense
When it comes to DUI offenses in South Carolina, the penalties can vary depending on the number of prior convictions. For example, a first-time DUI offender may face fines and license suspension, whereas repeat offenders could face jail time.
For a first offense, the mandatory minimum sentence is 48 hours up to 90 days in jail or community service. F fines range from $400 to $1,000, and driver’s license suspensions last six months.
Second-time offenders will face harsher consequences with mandatory minimum sentences of five days in jail and up to three years imprisonment. Fines range from $2,100 to $6,500, and driver’s licenses are suspended for one year.
Third-time offenders must serve at least sixty days to three years imprisonment with fines ranging from $3,800-$10,000. Driver’s licenses are suspended for two years.
It’s important to note that these mandatory minimums do not include additional charges or aggravating factors such as high BAC levels or accidents resulting in injury or death. In those cases, penalties could increase significantly.
If you’re facing a repeat DUI offense in South Carolina, it’s crucial that you seek legal counsel immediately to help protect your rights and minimize penalties associated with your case.
The Difference Between a Felony and Misdemeanor DUI Charge
When it comes to DUI charges in South Carolina, there are two types of charges: misdemeanor and felony. A misdemeanor DUI charge is the most common type of drunk driving offense, while a felony DUI charge is a much more serious offense.
The difference between the two types of offenses often depends on factors such as prior convictions or whether an injury or death was involved in the incident. If you have been convicted of three or more DUIs within ten years, your next conviction will be charged as a felony.
A misdemeanor DUI charge generally carries less severe penalties than a felony charge. The maximum penalty for a first-time offender is up to 30 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Second-time offenders face harsher penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences ranging from 5 days to 3 years, depending on the BAC level at arrest.
Felony DUI charges carry significantly higher fines and longer prison sentences than misdemeanors. For example, if someone causes great bodily harm or death while driving under the influence, they may receive up to twenty-five years imprisonment with no chance of parole.
It’s important to understand that every case is different and can have varying outcomes depending on factors like blood alcohol concentration (BAC), previous criminal history, etc.
How Long a DUI Stays On Your Record in South Carolina
In South Carolina, a DUI conviction can have long-lasting consequences. One of the most significant impacts is how it stays on your criminal record.
A first-time DUI offense typically stays on your record for ten years in South Carolina. This means that any subsequent offenses within this time frame will be counted as repeat offenses and carry harsher penalties.
For second-time offenders, the conviction remains on their record for life. This can make it challenging to find employment or housing opportunities and impact insurance rates and credit scores.
It’s worth noting that expungement is not an option for DUI convictions in South Carolina. Even if you complete all court-ordered requirements and stay out of trouble for several years, the conviction will remain on your record.
Contact an Experienced Charleston Criminal Defense Attorney for the Help You Need!
If you are facing DUI charges in South Carolina, it is important to take them seriously. Repeat DUI offenses can result in severe penalties and consequences that can affect your life for years. That’s why it is crucial to seek the help of an experienced Charleston criminal defense attorney who will work tirelessly on your behalf.
We have helped many clients facing repeat DUI offenses, and we understand how stressful this situation can be. Our team of dedicated legal professionals will fight aggressively for your rights and do everything possible to ensure a favorable outcome.
If you need assistance with your case or have questions about South Carolina’s DUI laws, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We offer free initial consultations where we can discuss your situation in detail and provide you with the guidance you need. Remember, having a knowledgeable attorney by your side throughout the legal process could make all the difference in achieving a positive resolution.