A report shows over 3000 drunk driving fatalities from 2009 to 2018 in South Carolina. Therefore, the state imposes strict penalties for driving under the influence to prevent catastrophic accidents. As a result, the punishments for DUI in South Carolina are pretty severe compared to other states.
Therefore, if you get caught drinking and drinking, contact a Charleston DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. First, however, you must know precisely the penalties and consequences you might face for driving under the influence. This article explains the penalties for a South Carolina DUI.
Charleston DUI Defense Lawyer Discusses Penalties for DUI in South Carolina
Your punishment depends on how many offenses you have on your driving history. In this section, we’ll explore the penalties for DUI in Charleston, South Carolina.
Penalties for First DUI Offense
The fine for a first DUI in South Carolina is not less than $400. Additionally, the minimum jail time is 48 hours, while the maximum is 30 days. If your alcohol concentration is up to 0.10% but is lower than 0.16%, the court could choose to fine you or imprison you for up to 72 hours or a maximum of 30 days. This depends on the court’s discretion and the circumstances surrounding your case.
If your blood alcohol concentration is within 0.16% or higher, your fine will be significantly higher, and your jail time would be a minimum of 30 days or a maximum of 90 days. The court could impose community service instead of the minimum imprisonment requirements. However, the community service must last for the same duration.
Penalties for Second DUI Offense
You pay a fine of not less than $2,100 for a second DUI in South Carolina. The maximum amount you will pay is $5,100. You could also get a jail term of 5 days or a maximum of 1 year. If your alcohol concentration is up to 0.10% but is lesser than 0.16%, the minimum fine you will be required to pay is $2,500 and a maximum of $5,500. Additionally, you could serve a jail term of not less than 30 days and a maximum of 2 years.
On the other hand, if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.16% or higher, the minimum fine you might need to pay is $3,500 and a maximum of $6,500. You could also serve a jail term of 90 days or a maximum of 3 years. The penalty for a DUI second offense in South Carolina is dependent on the court’s discretion, the circumstances surrounding your case, and any previous conviction.
Penalties for Third DUI Offense
For a third DUI offense in South Carolina, you will pay a minimum fine of $3,800 or a maximum fine of $6,300. The court could also award you the minimum jail term of 60 days or a maximum of three years. If you have an alcohol concentration of about 0.10%, but below 0.16%, you might pay a fine of $5,000 or the maximum fine of $7,500. The minimum jail term for this BAC level is 90 days, and the maximum is four years.
In DUI cases where your alcohol concentration is 0.16% or higher, the fine is not less than $7,500 but doesn’t exceed the maximum of $10,000. The jail term for such DUI cases is also a minimum of 6 months and a maximum of 5 years.
Penalties for Fourth DUI Offense or Higher
If it is your fourth DUI in South Carolina, you could serve a jail term of 1 year or a maximum of 5 years. The fine you pay is dependent on the court’s discretion and the circumstances surrounding your case and previous convictions. For offenders with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10%, your jail term is for two years or a maximum of six years.
Additionally, for offenders with an alcohol concentration of 0.16% and higher, the minimum jail term is 3 years with a maximum of 7 years. The court can award any amount as a fine or ask you to serve a jail term instead. However, a Charleston DUI defense lawyer can help develop a defense to get you the minimum sentence available for your offense.
What Happens to Your Driver’s License After a DUI Conviction in South Carolina
Apart from the fines and jail terms listed above, a DUI offense, certain BAC levels, and a refusal to submit to tests could suspend your driver’s license for a specific period. However, it depends on the number of offenses. Below, we explain how the court determines the suspension of driving privileges after a DUI in South Carolina.
First DUI Offense
The court can revoke your driving license for six months. To reinstate your driving license, you must provide an SR-22 insurance policy of three years. It must also be at a higher rate than the regular insurance premium.
Second DUI Offense
The court could suspend your driving privileges for one year for a second offense. However, you can reinstate your license when you obtain an SR-22 insurance policy of 3 years. This should also be higher than the typical insurance premium.
Third DUI Offense
For a third DUI in South Carolina, the court can revoke your driving license for two years. However, if the third DUI offense occurred within five years of the first offense, the court could suspend your driving privilege for four years. However, the vehicle would be confiscated for third DUI offenses within 10 years of previous convictions.
Fourth DUI Offense
For a fourth offense, the driving license could be revoked permanently with no chance of reinstatement. Additionally, the court could order confiscation of the vehicle if the offender is the owner or it belongs to a resident of the offender’s household.
Refusal to Submit to Testing
For 1st time DUI offenders who refuse to submit to testing, the court could suspend their driving license for six months. This is regardless of the court’s outcome on your DUI case. For second DUI offenses, the court could award a nine months suspension on your driving license.
If it’s your third DUI in 10 years, then the court could choose to suspend your license for 12 months. For 4th DUI cases within 10 years, the court would award a permanent driving license suspension or limit usage for 15 months.
Contact a Charleston DUI Defense Lawyer Today!
The consequences of a DUI conviction in Charleston are pretty severe and can affect your professional and personal life for years. However, you can avoid a conviction by working with a legal team.
Our expert criminal defense attorney in Charleston, South Carolina, has years of experience assisting clients facing DUI charges. We’re prepared to fight for you and provide you with the best defense. Contact our office today to enjoy a free and confidential consultation of your case.