From simple trips to the grocery store, to making that long distance drive to visit family–everything becomes a challenge without a driver’s license.
Let’s explore how DUI license suspensions in SC really work!
DUI License Suspensions in South Carolina
First off, South Carolina has a complex system of license suspensions related to driving under the influence (DUI) arrests.
The DMV will impose a license suspension not only for a DUI conviction, but also for refusal to submit to the breathalyzer or blood tests.
The length of suspension in either situation varies depending on the circumstances.
For example, in some situations you can get a temporary or route-restricted license, and, in other situations you can’t get a license at all.
Factors Impacting Suspension
If you are convicted of a DUI offense, your license will be suspended for a period of time that is determined by:
1) Whether it is your first, second, or third offense
2) The results of your breathalyzer test
You may be able to get a route-restricted license depending on your case.
For example, it may depend on whether or not this is your first or subsequent conviction, whether you install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle, and whether you have enrolled in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP).
In addition, a license suspension based on a DUI conviction is separate from a license suspension based on implied consent for refusing the breathalyzer or blood tests.
Even if you won your administrative/implied consent hearing, your license will still be suspended if you are later convicted of the DUI offense.
Implied Consent Suspensions in South Carolina
Every person who is accused of DUI should refuse the breathalyzer test.
Your license will be suspended immediately, but it can be reinstated if you request an administrative hearing within the time limit and if you win the hearing.
If you lose the administrative hearing, refusing the breathalyzer test will still be worthwhile because an administrative suspension is better than giving the prosecution evidence to use against you at trial.
If you take the breathalyzer test and the result is greater than .15, your license will still be suspended. Either way, you must request an administrative hearing within 30 days of the arrest.
SC Administrative Hearings
Once your DUI attorney has requested the administrative hearing, in most cases you will be able to get a temporary license that you can use until the date of the hearing.
If you do not request the hearing or if you lose at the hearing, your license suspension will remain in effect, and you will have to enroll in ADSAP before you can regain your driving privileges, even if you later win your DUI case.
Remember, these proceedings are administrative and separate from the actual DUI prosecution in criminal court.
The standard of proof and evidence rules are not as strict in the administrative court as they are in a criminal court, and these hearings can be difficult to win.
In many cases, however, the officer will not appear at the hearing or may choose not to enter testimony at the hearing. This means you win by default.
If the officer does appear at the hearing and goes forward, your attorney can then cross-examine the officer and argue that:
1) There was no probable cause for the arrest;
2) The breath test was not properly offered; or
3) That the breath test was not actually refused.
Charged with DUI in South Carolina?
Your DUI lawyer will review the videos and incident report in the case, and can make arguments based on the officer’s testimony, what the videos show, and whether the officer followed SLED’s policy and procedure during the breath test.
If you have been charged with DUI or DUAC in the Myrtle Beach, Conway, Charleston, or Columbia areas, contact the South Carolina implied consent lawyers at Coastal Law, LLC, today at (843) 488-5000 to find out how we can help. You can also fill out our online form to set up a free, no-strings-attached consultation.