South Carolina DUI Law – Brief Overview

South Carolina law deems it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, legal, illegal drugs, or any combination of the same.  To be convicted of South Carolina DUI, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the driver’s mental and physical faculties are materially and appreciably impaired due to the ingestion of alcohol and or drugs and that the person cannot operate a vehicle safely on South Carolina roads.

South Carolina DUI law provides for enhanced punishment for those with blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher.  Additionally, repeat offenders, those arrested for DUI more than once every ten (10) years are subject to enhanced punishment pursuant to South Carolina drunk driving laws.  A fourth (4th) DUI is a felony in South Carolina.

South Carolina’s pre-conviction driver’s license suspensions and restrictions for those arrested in DUI in S.C. with blood-alcohol content greater than 0.08% are as follows: (1) DUI first: driver’s license is suspended for thirty (30) days; (2) DUI second: driver’s license is suspended for sixty (60) days.  Note that restricted licenses are available under

Implied Consent

Any person driving a vehicle in South Carolina is considered to consent to a breath analysis, blood test or urine test to identify the presence of alcohol or drugs or the       combination of both within the body.  If a driver is stopped and ultimately charged with DUI, the arresting officer is required to warn the driver that he/she has the right to refuse to take the breath test. Further, the officer operating the breathalyzer machine must advise the driver that he/she has the right to a blood or urine test whether or not he/she submits to the breath test (fees associated with the blood/urine tests are paid by the driver).  Further, the arresting officer is required to assist the driver in obtaining the additional tests (ex. , if a blood test is requested, the arresting officer is required to transport the driver to a medical facility for testing).

Video

South Carolina is the only state in the country requiring videotaping by the arresting       officer.  This mandates video footage is taken of both the DUI arrest and breath-test. S.C. law requires the tape begin no later than activation of the officer’s blue lights and       conclude after the arrest for DUI.  The video must also include the driver being advised by the officer of his/her Miranda rights, if required by state or Federal law, before any field sobriety tests are given.

If videotaping by police is not performed in accordance with South Carolina law when it could have been done then the case may be dismissed. However, if the officer’s provide sufficient affidavits displaying sufficient cause as to why videotape of the required portions of the stop and testing, in accordance with S.C. law, is not available, then failure to videotape is excused.

Penalties

DUI first in South Carolina results in a fine of $400.00 or imprisonment for at least forty-eight (48) hours.  A thirty (30) day jail sentence could be imposed.  To retain your       license after a DUI conviction, a driver must obtain SR-22 insurance for three (3) years.

DUI second results in a minimum fine of $2,000.00 up to $5,000.00 and imprisoned for at least five (5) days or up to one (1) year.  A driver convicted of DUI second is also subject to at least thirty (30) days of jail-time.

DUI third carries a fine of at least $3,800.00 up to $6,300.00.  In addition to the fine, the driver will be imprisoned for at least sixty (60) days up to a maximum of three (3) years.

If a person is convicted of a DUI forth or more, the driver will be sentenced to jail for a minimum of one (1) year and could have to serve up to five (5) years. This is considered felony DUI.

Felony DUI Penalties

If a person is convicted of felony DUI for causing great bodily harm to a third-person, he/she is subject to a mandatory fine of at least $5000.00 and up to $10,000.00.  Additionally, mandatory imprisonment of at least thirty (30) days to 15 years is imposed.  A person convicted of felony DUI resulting in the death of third-party is subject to a mandatory fine of $10,000.00 to $25,000.000 and a jail sentence of at least one (1) year up to twenty-five (25) years.

Should you or a loved one get charged with DUI or other traffic related offenses Miller|Conway is here to advocate on your behalf.  Call the firm at 843.764.3334 for a free consultation and review the firm’s DUI practice at http://millerconwaylaw.com/criminal-defense/