In South Carolina, if you have a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher and an officer pulls you over, you can be charged with a DUI. It does not matter if you exhibit any impairment; having a BAC over the legal limit is all that is required to charge someone. At the time that an individual is taken into custody for a DUI, an officer will confiscate his or her license. A notice of suspension will state that people have 30 days to request a hearing to request a temporary alcohol license. This will replace their regular license until the outcome of their case is determined.
South Carolina DUI Penalties are similar to those in other states, and sentencing often includes the suspensions of an individual’s license, fines, jail time and community service. Repeat offenders face increasingly punitive punishment, and South Carolina counts DUI convictions from out of state that occur within a 10 year period the same as an in state conviction. Along with the number of times someone has been convicted of a DUI charge, a BAC will determine the severity of the South Carolina DUI penalties. Penalties increase when people have a BAC of .10 or greater and they increase again if their BAC meets or exceeds .16.
All convictions carry the requirement of completing an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. Additionally, for people to have their license reinstated, they will need to provide a South Carolina SR22 insurance policy form that shows that someone has minimum auto insurance coverage and pay a $100 fee to the DMV.
1st Conviction Penalties
Individuals who are convicted for the first time can face between 48-hours and 90-days in jail, although the court may allow someone to perform community service in lieu of serving time in jail. Fines for a first conviction are no greater than $1,000, and people will also be required to pay court costs. The license suspension will last for six months, but some may be eligible for a provisional license.
2nd Conviction Penalties
A second conviction carries with it a minimum jail sentence of 5 days and a maximum of 3 years, although community service may be an option. Along with court costs, people will pay between $2,100 and $6,500 in fines. People’s licenses will be suspended for one year, and they are not eligible for a provisional license during this time. Along with a fee and SR22 form, individuals are also required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle before the state will reinstate their license after the one year suspension.
3rd Conviction Penalties
South Carolina considers a third charge a felony, and people may be sentenced to between 60-days and five-years in jail, and community service cannot be performed instead of serving time in jail. Fines of no greater than $10,000 and no less than $3,800 must be paid as well as court costs. License suspensions last for two years, and there is no option for a provision license, and people must have an ignition interlock device installed in their automobile before their license will be reinstated.
4th Conviction Penalties
If someone is convicted of a DUI for the fourth time, their license will be permanently suspended and the court will determine the fines. People will spend at least one year in jail with a maximum sentence of seven years.