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South Carolina DUI Law

Of the 1,039 traffic fatalities on South Carolina highways in 2004, 369 involved at least one driver who was over the legal limit.  About a quarter of the deaths (249) involved a driver who had a Blood Alcohol Content of more than twice the legal limit.

Legal Limits

It is unlawful in the State of South Carolina to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs to the extent that the driver’s faculties are materially and appreciably impaired.

If your Blood Alcohol Concentration is greater than .08, you are guilty of Driving With an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration.

Penalties

First Offense:  Fine of $400 or imprisonment for no less than 48 hours and no more than 30 days.  The court may substitute 48 hours of community service for the minimum jail time.

Second Offense:  Fine of between $500 - $2,100 and imprisonment for no less than 5 days and no more than one year.  The court may, at its discretion, substitute a minimum of 30 days of community service for jail time.

Third Offense:  Fine of between $3,800 - $6,300 and imprisonment for no less than 60 days and no more than three years.  60 day minimum is mandatory.

Fourth and Subsequent Offenses:  Imprisonment for no less than one year and no more than five years.  One year minimum is mandatory.

Driving Under the Influence and Causing Great Bodily Harm:  Fine of $5,100 – $10,100 and imprisonment for no less than 30 days and no more than 15 years.

Driving Under the Influence and Causing Death:  Fine of $10,100 - $25,100 and imprisonment for no less than one year and no more than 25 years.

Child Endangerment:  If the violation occurred while a child under the age of 16 was in the car the court will impose an additional fine of not more than one-half the maximum fine for the crime (i.e. for the second offense, the court may impose a fine of up to an additional $1,050).  The court may also impose an additional jail term of up to one-half of the maximum term (i.e. for the second offense, the court may impose an additional 6 months).  Additionally, the offender’s drivers license will be suspended for 60 days.

Ignition Interlock System

At the court’s discretion, ignition interlock system may be installed on any car registered or licensed to the defendant.  The offender must pay all costs for the interlock system and the system will be attached for as long as the court wants it to be.

Vehicle Immobilization

For the second and subsequent offenses of DUI laws, the court will order the suspension and surrender of the vehicle’s registration and the offender’s drivers license for a period of thirty days.

Implied Consent

Drivers have granted the state implied consent to test their Blood Alcohol Concentration.  Refusal to submit to a chemical test upon the officer’s request results in a suspension of license for 90 days (no prior offenses) or 180 days (at least one prior DUI in the last ten years).

Publication of Names

On the tenth of each month, the Department of Motor Vehicles will publish the names of all people who had their licenses suspended for DUI offenses in the last month.