DUI Penalties in SC
A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC) in SC can have severe and sometimes permanent consequences. What are the DUI penalties in SC?
DUI offenses in South Carolina are graduated which means that the potential penalties increase based on the number of prior offenses that you have and based on the blood alcohol content (BAC) level if you took the breathalyzer or if a blood sample was taken from you.
Depending on the BAC and whether it is your first or subsequent DUI offense, South Carolina’s DUI penalties include mandatory minimum jail sentences. This is one of many reasons why no one should ever plead guilty to a DUI offense at their initial bond hearing.
If you are charged with DUI first offense with a BAC greater than .15, for example, the magistrate must sentence you to jail time or a lengthy period of community service if you were to plead guilty at the initial hearing. On the other hand, if you plead not guilty and retain a DUI defense lawyer to obtain the evidence and review your case, your charge could be dismissed before it gets to trial. Even in the worst of cases, your charges could be reduced to keep you out of jail or to avoid the DUI conviction.
A conviction for DUI or DUAC will also result in a license suspension separate from and in addition to the suspension you may receive under the implied consent laws.
The length of time that your license is suspended, like the potential jail sentence, is graduated and will increase based on your BAC level and number of prior offenses. Following a DUI conviction, you cannot regain your license until you enroll in the alcohol and drug safety action program (ADSAP), and you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for a period of time.
The financial consequences following a DUI or DUAC conviction can also be severe. In addition to the fines that are imposed following a conviction, the driver will have to carry SR-22 insurance for a period of at least three years, pay for the ADSAP program, pay for the ignition interlock device and its monitoring, and pay reinstatement fees to the DMV. It is less expensive to retain even a top-notch DUI defense attorney than it would be to pay the financial consequences that follow a conviction.
There are many more collateral consequences following a DUI-related conviction.
A DUI conviction can never be expunged under South Carolina law. Although many misdemeanor offenses in the lower courts can be expunged after three years, DUI cannot because it is classified as a traffic offense. A DUI conviction will follow you for the rest of your life. It can severely limit your future job opportunities and it may even prevent travel to certain countries.
At Johnny Gardner Law, we understand how a DUI conviction can impact a person’s life and we are committed to providing the best defense possible. Our goal is always to have your charge dismissed or to win your case at trial, but we also understand the intricacies of DUI penalties and we work hard to help you avoid the collateral and unexpected consequences that follow a DUI arrest.
Contact Johnny Gardner Law Now
If you have been charged with DUI or DUAC in Myrtle Beach, Conway, or the Horry County area, call Johnny Gardner Law today to find out how we can help.