How Serious is a DUI Charge? | 6.24.2022

South Carolina law imposes firm penalties on motorists who are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). Operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol can lead you to face some serious charges. How serious is a DUI charge? The penalties are determined by a combination of the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) as well as any previous convictions. Any BAC above .08 will land you a DUI charge. You will also be charged with a DUI if your BAC is between .05 and .08 and it was evident that there was impaired driving. If this is the first time you are facing a drunk driving charge, read ahead to learn about the possible outcomes. 

Is a DUI charge a felony?

If this is a first-offense DUI it is not considered a felony unless the DUI resulted in a serious bodily injury or death. In that case, the DUI will likely be charged as a felony. Generally, a DUI is a misdemeanor charge; However, the state of South Carolina automatically categorizes a DUI charge as a felony once an individual has three previous DUI convictions. 

The Penalties for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) as a First Offense 

As a first-time offender in a DUI case in South Carolina, you will face up to $400 in fines and up to 30 days of jail time. These consequences may increase in conjunction with an increase in a person’s BAC. Some additional ramifications include community service and/or required ignition interlock devices. A DUI charge may also result in a suspended license. 

Do you Always Lose Your License After a DUI?

A DUI arrest will not always result in the suspension of your license. You will most likely lose your driving privileges for some time if you fail or refuse a breathalyzer test. If you agree to submit a breathalyzer test, your driver’s license may only be suspended if your BAC is 0.15 or greater. This is known as implied consent law. After a person loses their license, their lawyer might request an administrative hearing in which they can get you a provisional driver’s license. In South Carolina, this temporary license has no driving restrictions. 

Will my DUI stay on my record?

Under the expungement laws in South Carolina, you can not get a DUI charge expunged. DUI charges are excluded from any pre-trial intervention (PTI) eligibility that you may see with a MIP or Fake ID charge. As far as your driving record, a DUI charge might not show up if it is past 10 years old. Regardless, the DUI charge will always stay visible on your criminal record. 

The Costs Associated with a DUI Charge

Besides the legal penalties, there are also many monetary costs associated with a DUI case. Some of the financial consequences might include increased insurance rates and payment for alcohol and drug safety programs. After a DUI, you will also need to file with the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) and pay reinstatement fees if you eventually qualify to renew your driving privileges. 

DUI cases include many technicalities that may seem confusing. The charges involved with a DUI case are life-altering. At Cavanaugh & Thickens we will carefully review your case to get you the best possible outcome. If you have been arrested for a DUI contact our office at (803) 888-2200 for a free consultation to see how we can help you with your case.

 

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