Consequences of a South Carolina DUI Conviction
Offices in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Charleston, and Columbia.
A driving under the influence (DUI) conviction can have more serious consequences than any other misdemeanor conviction.
Because it is considered a traffic offense, it can never be expunged under South Carolina law and will remain on your record for the rest of your life. It does not “fall off” your driving record like some other traffic offenses because it is not a points-based offense on your driving record. It is a criminal conviction that will appear on background checks.
A DUI conviction in South Carolina can result in license suspension, large fines, mandatory minimum jail sentences, ignition interlock devices, a requirement to keep SR-22 insurance for a minimum of three years and longer if you miss a payment, and a requirement of completing the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP).
South Carolina DUI is a Graduated Offense
DUI penalties in South Carolina are graduated which means that the length of the potential jail time, including mandatory minimum sentences, increases for each subsequent conviction. The length of the potential license suspension also increases for each subsequent conviction, and the length of potential jail time and license suspension also increases based on the breathalyzer result. What this means is that you must fight the first DUI. Once you have a DUI conviction, the damage is done and any subsequent DUI arrests will land you in General Session Court instead of the lower magistrate or municipal courts.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences for South Carolina DUIs
Even on a first-offense DUI with no breathalyzer result, South Carolina now has a mandatory minimum sentence of 48 hours in jail or 48 hours of public service. On a first-offense DUI with a breathalyzer result greater than .15, there is a 30-day mandatory minimum sentence, and it can carry up to 90 days in jail. The mandatory minimums and maximum potential sentences for DUI increase based on the number of prior offenses and breathalyzer result up to a mandatory minimum of three years in prison and up to seven years in prison for a fourth offense with a BAC greater than .15. DUI sentences cannot be suspended by the court and, after the first offense, community service is no longer an option.
Ignition Interlock Devices in South Carolina
In 2014, the South Carolina legislature passed what is called “Emma’s Law,” which requires even some first-time offenders to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle before they can drive. The ignition interlock is a device that the driver must blow into to ensure that there is no alcohol in their system before their car will start, and it must be monitored by the probation department. The ignition interlock requirements are graduated like the jail time and license suspension requirements, and the length of time that a person must keep the device on their vehicle is increased with each subsequent offense.
If you have been charged with DUI or DUAC in the Myrtle Beach, Conway, Charleston, or Columbia areas, contact the South Carolina DUI defense attorneys at Coastal Law, LLC, today at (843) 488-5000 to find out how we can help.
1104 North Oak Street
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
1314 2nd Avenue
Conway, SC 29526
231 King Street
Charleston, SC 29401
1201 Main Street, Suite 1913
Columbia, SC 29201
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