Oftentimes people are surprised by the DUI law in South Carolina.  DUI law is complex, and there are many requirements that the State must prove before someone is convicted of DUI in South Carolina.  People often have many questions about what constitutes DUI and what the consequences of a DUI conviction are.

In this article you will learn:

  • What a charge for DUI is in South Carolina;
  • What the types of DUI charges are in SC; and
  • The possible consequences of a DUI conviction.

Driving Under the Influence in South Carolina

In SC it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point that your ability to drive is materially and appreciably impaired.  That seems pretty simple, but there are multiple layers to the DUI law.

DUI Charges in SC

In terms of DUI law, a motor vehicle is defined as every vehicle which is self-propelled.  You can get a DUI on a golf cart or ATV!   DUI penalties also depend on the number of times you have been convicted and what your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is.  

In South Carolina, DUI is a graduated offense which means that there are different penalties depending on how many times you have been convicted of DUI.  DUI also has different penalties depending on the alleged level of alcohol in someone’s blood.  Most DUI’s are misdemeanors even if it isn’t your first conviction for DUI, but some are not.

What is commonly referred to as “Felony DUI” is much more serious.  Some other DUIs can still be charged as felonies, such as with certain repeat DUI offenders.  Felony DUI is when a person is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and does any act forbidden by law or neglects any duty imposed by law and that forbidden act or neglect of duty results in great bodily injury or death to another individual.

Consequences of a DUI Conviction

A DUI conviction may have consequences other than those most people immediately think of.  All DUIs have short-term and long-term consequences.  Some of the short-term consequences may include license suspension, jail time, completing the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP), fines, and having to use an ignition interlock device (IID).

A DUI conviction also has long-term consequences.  Some of the long-term consequences may include an increase in insurance rates, having to have SR-22 insurance, difficulty getting into education programs, difficulty getting a job, and/or a permanent conviction on your RAP sheet.  Whether it is a short-term or a long-term consequence, the consequences are life-altering.  

Some of the consequences are the actual court ordered penalty for DUI.  Below is a chart which shows the fine and jail penalties for different levels of DUI in South Carolina.

Offense # BAC Possible jail time Fine*
First < 0.10% 48 hours – 30 days OR fine
First 0.10-0.15% 72 hours – 30 days OR fine
First > 0.15% 30 – 90 days OR fine
Second < 0.10% 5 days – 1 year AND fine
Second 0.10-0.15% 30 days – 2 years AND fine
Second > 0.15% 90 days – 3 years AND fine
Third < 0.10% 60 days – 3 years AND fine
Third 0.10-0.15% 90 days – 4 years AND fine
Third > 0.15% 6 months – 5 years AND fine
Fourth < 0.10% 1 – 5 years
Fourth 0.10-0.15% 2 – 6 years
Fourth > 0.15% 3 – 7 years

*The above jail terms with an “AND” mean you get jail time plus a fine. Jail terms with “OR” mean, if convicted, you’ll receive either jail time or a fine.

Felony DUI Involving Great Bodily Injury

Felony DUI involving great bodily injury is defined as injury which creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious permanent disfigurement, or results in the loss or impairment of any body member or organ.  Felony DUI (Great Bodily Injury) carries a penalty of not less than thirty days nor more than fifteen years in prison AND a mandatory fine of not less than $5,100 nor more than $10,100.

Felony DUI Involving Death

Felony DUI (Death) is Felony DUI that causes the death of another.  Felony DUI (Death) carries a penalty of not less than one year nor more than twenty-five years in prison AND a mandatory fine of not less than $10,100 nor more than $25,100.

Need help with your DUI charge?

DUI is something that is taken very seriously by the State of South Carolina.  Many people wonder what a DUI attorney can do to help you.  A DUI attorney can explain the complicated DUI process to you, work to get your charge reduced or dismissed, and negotiate with the solicitor on your behalf.  It is important not to try to go it alone!  

DUI has serious life-changing consequences with a conviction.  There may be defenses to your DUI that you are unaware of.  A DUI attorney can stand by you during the process, explain what is going on, and ensure that any defenses you have are explained to you.  It is important to have legal counsel to help you through the process.

If you find yourself charged with DUI, please find legal counsel with whom you are comfortable. Contact us today.

Questions? Speak With Jennilee.

Dial (843) 970-2929