Most people probably think of DUI as one offense that applies when someone is drinking and driving – if the police think someone was driving a car while they were intoxicated, they will charge the person with driving under the influence (DUI).
Did you know that there are many DUI-related offenses in SC, though?
Some, like DUAC (driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration), can be used interchangeably with DUI although different elements must be proven. Others apply in different situations like when a person has a child in the vehicle, when they are operating a boat, or when they are flying a plane.
In this article, we will discuss the most commonly charged DUI-related offenses in SC, including:
- DUI, DUAC, and felony DUI,
- Boating and flying under the influence,
- Other DUI-related criminal offenses, and
- DUI-related administrative proceedings.
DUI/Driving Under the Influence
DUI, or driving under the influence, is an offense that most people are familiar with. Getting a conviction is not as simple as an officer saying that a person was under the influence behind the wheel, though.
The elements of DUI in SC, found in SC Code § 56-5-2930, include:
- The person was driving within the State of SC (not sleeping behind the wheel or just sitting in the driver’s seat – the vehicle must be in motion under the control of the person charged),
- At the time they were driving, they were intoxicated, and
- They were intoxicated to the extent that their faculties to drive a motor vehicle were materially and appreciably impaired.
Each element must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and a breathalyzer result is not required or conclusive – even if the blood alcohol test says the person’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) was .30, the prosecutor must still prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person’s faculties to drive were materially and appreciably impaired.
DUAC/ Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration
DUAC, or driving under an unlawful alcohol concentration, is found in SC Code § 56-5-2933. It requires proof that 1) a person was driving 2) while their BAC was .08 or higher.
Even if the person’s faculties to drive were not materially and appreciably impaired, and all other evidence says they were “fine to drive,” the person can be convicted if the state proves that their BAC was .08 or greater.
Of course, the prosecutor must have a BAC result from the breathalyzer, urinalysis, or blood test, and they may be required to bring an expert witness to testify as to the operation of the machine or the testing procedure.
A “felony DUI” does not mean “a DUI that is a felony.” It is a specific criminal offense found in SC Code § 56-5-2945 that is charged when someone is injured or killed in a DUI-related crash. It requires proof that:
- The defendant drove a motor vehicle,
- They were under the influence of alcohol or drugs when they drove the vehicle,
- While driving, they committed any act forbidden by law or neglected any duty imposed by law (they negligently caused a crash), and
- Their negligence caused great bodily injury or death to another person.
Boating Under the Influence
SC Code § 50-21-112 prohibits the operation of a “moving motorized water device or water device under sail upon the waters of this state” while the person’s faculties to operate are materially and appreciably impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Flying Under the Influence
Flying under the influence is also a DUI-related offense found in SC law – SC Code § 55-1-100 prohibits any person from either operating an aircraft or acting as a flight crew member:
- Within eight hours of consuming an alcoholic beverage,
- While under the influence of alcohol,
- While using an illegal drug or controlled substance that affects the person’s faculties “in a manner contrary to safety,” or
- With a BAC of .04 or higher at the time of the violation.
Under 21/ Zero Tolerance Law
SCHP and other organizations often proclaim that “zero tolerance is the law in SC!”
It is not.
The law, related to DUI in SC, is that a person cannot drive when they are intoxicated to the extent that their faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired.
There is a “zero tolerance” law that applies to minors, though. SC Code § 56-1-286 says that the DMV can suspend a person’s license if they are 1) under the age of 21 and 2) drive a motor vehicle 3) with a BAC of .02 or higher.
DUI-Related Child Endangerment
If a person is charged with DUI (or DUAC, felony DUI, or failure to stop for a blue light), and there is a child younger than 16 in the vehicle at the time of the offense, the person can also be charged with child endangerment under SC Code § 56-5-2947.
Implied Consent Suspension
There are also DUI-related administrative proceedings that include implied consent suspensions.
Any time a person 1) refuses to take the breathalyzer, urine, or blood test or 2) takes the test and the result is .15 or greater, their license will be suspended, they will need to enroll in ADSAP if the suspension is not reversed at an implied consent hearing, and, depending on the circumstances, they may need to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
Other DUI-Related Offenses
Many other alcohol-related offenses do not necessarily involve driving but may be charged in conjunction with DUI-related offenses, including:
- Open container,
- Minor in possession of alcohol,
- Possession or use of a fake ID to buy alcohol,
- Public intoxication,
- Public disorderly conduct, and
- Breach of the peace.
DUI Defense Lawyers in Myrtle Beach, 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.