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Measuring the costs of a felony DUI conviction in South Carolina

In a previous blog post, we discussed the way that South Carolina statutes define felony charges for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. On a basic level, law enforcement officials can move forward with felony charges if an intoxicated driver causes bodily harm another person.

Although we looked at the way the law differentiates between misdemeanor and felony DUI, that particular post didn't delve into the severe legal consequences that accompany the latter set of charges. By taking a look into this, readers will have a better idea of just how serious it is to be charged with a felony in South Carolina.

According to state law, a person who is convicted of felony DUI will likely face at least three years of incarceration. However, if the charges are associated with a fatal accident, then the prison sentence could be extended to five years. The prison term cannot include time for parole or probation. In other words, time behind bars typically accompanies these charges.

In addition to time in prison, an individual who is convicted of a felony faces penalties even after they've served time. For instance, it may be impossible to vote in elections or own a firearm --even for hunting. Furthermore, individuals who have a felony on their record may have a difficult time finding employment or housing. With all of this in mind, the effects of felony charges extend far beyond the time spent in prison.

Of course, felony DUI charges may also include fines, much like misdemeanor charges. In total, it's clear that the cost of felony charges is immense. Any time these charges are pressed by law enforcement officials, the accused individual should take them seriously. After all, being convicted is likely to have a lifetime of consequences.

Source: WestLaw, South Carolina Code 1976 § 56-5-2945

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