The 2023 legislative session in SC brought some changes to SC DUI law regarding the ignition interlock device (IID) requirements for people who are convicted of DUI or DUAC and for people who have implied consent suspensions in SC. 

A bill was passed this year, signed into law by the governor, and will go into effect on May 19, 2024, that will require all people who are convicted of DUI and DUAC – even for their first offense – to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle. 

It will also make IIDs mandatory for anyone who has an implied consent suspension that is not overturned at their administrative hearing. 

Below, we will look at the new law, including:

  • When you must install an ignition interlock device under the old law vs. under the new law, 
  • How long you must keep the IID on your vehicle if you are convicted of DUI or DUAC, and
  • Why the new law, and ignition interlock devices in general, are not necessarily a bad thing for DUI defendants. 

What is an Ignition Interlock Device? 

An ignition interlock device is a small breathalyzer machine that you must blow into before your engine starts. 

If you have a passing result (less than .02), your engine will start, but you may be retested later as long as your engine is still running. 

If you fail the test (.02 or higher), either initially or during a later retest, you will be locked out of your vehicle, the probation department will be notified, you may be required to attend substance abuse counseling, the length of time you are required to keep the device on your vehicle may be extended, or you may be removed from the program entirely, depending on the circumstances and the number of points that you have accumulated. 

The probation department supervises the ignition interlock device, and the driver must pay supervision fees as well as the costs of installing and maintaining the IID. 

When You Must Install an Ignition Interlock Device Under SC’s Old DUI Laws

Under the current DUI laws, a driver who is convicted of DUI or DUAC may be required to install an IID or may have the option of installing an IID, depending on their prior convictions and breathalyzer result, but first-offense DUI and DUAC convictions are exempt. 

When You Must Install an Ignition Interlock Device Under the 2023 Changes to SC DUI Law

There are many changes in the 2023 amendments to various laws related to the ignition interlock device program and requirements. The most significant are:

  1. Every person convicted of DUI or DUAC must now install an ignition interlock device, including first offenses, and
  2. Every person with an implied consent violation must now install an IID if the suspension is not overturned at an implied consent hearing. 

If you have an implied consent suspension, you can still request an implied consent hearing, and you can then get a temporary alcohol license (TAL) that allows you to drive until the hearing – without any restrictions and without an IID. 

If you win your administrative hearing, you can then get your full license back with no IID. If you lose the hearing, however, or if you do not request a hearing, you must 1) install the IID and 2) enroll in ADSAP, both within 30 days. 

How Long is the IID Required if You are Convicted of DUI or DUAC? 

If you are convicted of DUI or DUAC in South Carolina on or after May 19, 2024, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device and keep it on your vehicle for a period of time ranging from six months to the rest of your life, depending on the number of prior DUI or DUAC convictions you have in the last ten years:

Number of Prior ConvictionsLength of Time You Must Keep the IID on Your Vehicle
First OffenseSix months
Second OffenseTwo years
Third OffenseThree years
Third Offense within five years of the first offenseFour years
Fourth or subsequent offenseLifetime

The Ignition Interlock Device Program is a Win-Win for Defendants and Victims’ Advocates

A DUI or DUAC conviction in South Carolina has many unfortunate consequences – including a permanent record for DUI that can never be expunged, hefty fines, ADSAP requirements, IID requirements, SR-22 insurance requirements, immigration consequences, international travel restrictions, and mandatory prison sentences in some cases. 

This means that, if you are charged with DUI or DUAC, you should fight the charges, even if it is your first offense. 

If you have been convicted, however, the ignition interlock device isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In many cases, it will allow a person to drive when, under the old law, their license might have been suspended without recourse. 

It will prevent the possibility of getting a new DUI soon after the first one, it will prevent the possibility of getting a driving under suspension (DUS) charge, and it will hopefully prevent traffic accidents and deaths in the future. 

It’s good, common-sense legislation that doesn’t hurt anyone and that has the potential to help many people, including DUI defendants who have been convicted. 

Questions About Ignition Interlock Devices in SC? 

The Myrtle Beach DUI defense attorneys at Coastal Law represent clients charged with all types of DUI-related offenses – including DUI, DUAC, felony DUI, BUI, FUI, implied consent proceedings, and DUI-related child endangerment. 

Under the new DUI law, the only way to avoid an ignition interlock device requirement in SC is by 1) fighting your implied consent violation and getting the suspension overturned at an administrative hearing, and 2) fighting the DUI or DUAC charge and getting it dismissed, “reduced” to a different traffic violation that does not have an IID requirement, or winning your case at trial. 

If you have been charged with DUI or DUAC, call Coastal Law now at (843) 488-5000 or contact us through our website for a free consultation to find out how we can help. 

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