DUI-Related Offenses in South Carolina – DUI, DUAC, Felony DUI and More

South Carolina has several types of DUI (driving under the influence) offenses and many more DUI-related offenses that could be charged depending on the circumstances.

There are DUI charges for boating, DUI charges for flying, and DUI-related charges for when there are children in the car. There are DUI administrative proceedings for children who drive with a BAC of .02 or greater…

Below, we will discuss the many DUI-related offenses in SC, including:

  • The most common driving under the influence charges including SC’s per se DUI law,
  • “DUI” charges for boating and flying, and
  • Other common criminal offenses that may be charged in addition to or instead of driving under the influence charges.

The Most Common DUI-Related Offenses in SC – DUI, DUAC, and Felony DUI

Many people are familiar with the three most common DUI charges in SC – driving under the influence (DUI), driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC), and felony DUI.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

SC’s “basic” DUI law is found in SC Code § 56-5-2930, and requires proof that 1) the person was driving a motor vehicle (driving means the vehicle was in motion under the person’s control), 2) while the person’s faculties to drive were materially and appreciably impaired.

While a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test result may be used as evidence that the person’s faculties to drive were materially and appreciably impaired, the person is not automatically guilty because their BAC (blood alcohol content) was .08 or greater).

Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC)

DUAC might be charged if there is a blood alcohol test result that is .08 or greater (and if the prosecutor is prepared to bring an expert witness from SLED to testify at trial as to how the machine operates).

SC Code § 56-5-2933 is South Carolina’s “DUI per se” law, which requires proof that 1) the person was driving a motor vehicle, 2) while their BAC was .08 or higher.

The benefit for the prosecutor is that they do not need to prove that the person’s faculties to drive were materially and appreciably impaired, only that their BAC was .08 or greater.

The benefits for the defendant include 1) their case will be dismissed if their attorney can get the BAC results excluded at trial (no BAC result, no case), and 2) if the DUI lawyer challenges the BAC results, whether it is a breathalyzer or blood test, the prosecution will need to bring a witness from SLED to testify.

Felony DUI

Felony DUI is the most serious DUI-related offense in SC, and it is charged when someone suffers great bodily injury or death because of a drunk driving collision.

SC Code § 56-5-2945 requires proof that:

  • Someone suffered great bodily injury or was killed,
  • Because of the defendant’s negligence,
  • While the defendant was driving a motor vehicle, and
  • Under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.

DUI in Other States

If you have lived in another state, you may know driving under the influence by another name. Note that there is a difference between “driving” states and “operating” states.

For a person to be “driving,” the vehicle must be in motion and under the control of the defendant. States that have “operating” laws, however, might allow convictions when a person was sleeping in the vehicle with the heater or radio on, even if they did not drive the vehicle.

Examples of “driving” statutes:

  • DUI – Driving Under the Influence,
  • DUII – Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants,
  • DUII-CS – Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants: Controlled Substances,
  • DWI – Driving While Intoxicated,
  • DWAI – Driving While Ability Impaired, and
  • ADWI – Aggravated Driving While Intoxicated.

Examples of “operating” statutes:

  • OUI – operating under the influence,
  • OVUII – operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant,
  • OWI – operating while intoxicated,
  • OVI – operating a vehicle while intoxicated,
  • OMVI – Operating a Motor Vehicle while Impaired,
  • OWVI – operating while visually impaired,
  • OUI – Operating Under the Influence of intoxicating liquor, and
  • OWPD – operating with the presence of drugs.

Other DUI-Related Offenses in South Carolina

There are many other DUI-related offenses in SC, including charges for DUI while boating or flying and other alcohol offenses that may be charged instead of or that may accompany DUI charges.

Other SC DUI-related charges include:

  • BUI (boating under the influence) (SC Code § 50-21-112),
  • FUI (flying under the influence) (SC Code § 55-1-100),
  • Child endangerment –when a person is charged with DUI, DUAC, felony DUI, or failure to stop for a blue light and there is a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle (SC Code § 56-5-2947),
  • Open container in a vehicle,
  • Disorderly conduct (can be charged when a person is intoxicated in public, including in a vehicle),
  • Breach of peace (also has a public intoxication component),
  • Public intoxication,
  • Minor in possession of alcohol,
  • Purchase of alcohol using a fake ID,
  • Implied consent suspensions (an administrative penalty), and
  • “Zero tolerance” administrative license suspensions for minors under SC Code § 56-1-286.

Questions About DUI-Related Offenses in SC?

If you have been charged with DUI, DUAC, or another DUI-related offense in Myrtle Beach, Conway, or anywhere in the Horry County area, you may have valid defenses to the charge or there may be grounds to get your case dismissed. You may also have strict deadlines to request an administrative hearing if you have an implied consent suspension because of a DUI arrest…

Contact DUI Defense Lawyer Johnny Gardner now at (843) 248-7135 for a free consultation to find out how we can help.