South Carolina DUI Laws And Penalties

DUI comes with a full load of criminal penalties including jail time, fines, and a criminal record that can follow you around like a black cloud for the rest of your life. The administrative penalties include the loss of your driver's license and can include the indignity of blowing into an ignition interlock device just to start your car.

Unfortunately that's not all of the consequences a person faces for a DUI conviction. There are collateral consequences such as having to pony up for expensive SR-22 auto insurance if you get your license reinstated, losing your job if it requires a commercial driver's license (CDL), and having a criminal conviction show up on background checks for employment and housing. Above all else, a DUI conviction can do immense damage to your personal reputation.

South Carolina's DUI penalties are no joke; it's not hyperbole to say they are capable of ending your life as you know it. The good news is that these harsh consequences don't have to be your fate. With the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyer from Drennan Law Firm, you can fight the charges you face and minimize the damage. We have shown our ability to take on and win tough DUI cases time and time again. Contact our office in Charleston anytime for a free consultation.

Possible Penalties For A DUI/DWI Conviction In South Carolina

Beyond the damage to your reputation and the harm that can come from having a criminal record, getting a DUI in the Charleston area is extremely damaging to your wallet. The typical cost of a DUI - taking into consideration everything from the initial arrest to the reinstatement of your driver's license - is at least $10,000. This does not include the future lost income that can occur due to having a DUI come up in background checks or financial outlays such as SR-22 auto insurance.

Felony DUI comes with the most severe criminal penalties. Felony DUI is charged when there are aggravating factors beyond driving under the influence of alcohol and it results in harm to another person. For example, if someone crosses the center line and causes a head-on collision that result in injury or death, they can be charged with felony DUI.

The penalties for felony DUI are as severe as 30 days to 15 years behind bars and fines up to $10,100 in cases involving great bodily injury. Cases involving death can result in one to 25 years behind bars and up to $25,100 in fines.

Top Questions About DUI Convictions In South Carolina

First of all, a conviction does not have to happen. It is in your best interest to fight the charges against you every step of the way. All is not lost, even if you blew over a .08% BAC or failed a field sobriety test. There are steps that can be taken to minimize the damage or achieve an acquittal, including challenging the constitutionality of police procedure and suppressing evidence that was improperly gathered.

One of the most common questions we receive about DUI convictions is whether they can be expunged from a person's record, essentially making them invisible in terms of personal and criminal background checks.

Unfortunately, expungement is not an option for DUIs in South Carolina. If you are convicted of DUI it will appear on your criminal record and follow you around for the rest of your life. This can make it difficult to pass background checks for employment, housing, and even student loans. The best way to avoid the consequences of having a DUI on your record is to fight the charges against you aggressively with the help of an experienced DUI defense lawyer from Drennan Law Firm.

Cost is always a concern for our clients. After all, nobody wants to spend their hard earned money on fines and the other costs associated with a DUI. In terms of fines and DUI-related costs, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100-$1,000 for a first offense, $2,000-$6,500 for a second offense, and $3,800 and $10,000 for a third offense. If you are facing felony DUI charges or it is your fourth, fifth, or subsequent offense, the amount of fines is the least of your problems.

How A South Carolina DUI Conviction Affects Your Insurance Rates

Auto insurance isn't cheap to begin with. Chances are you already pay $100 per month or more. A DUI can cause those rates to go through the roof. Once you are convicted of a DUI or DUAC you'll be forced to carry SR-22 auto insurance, a type of auto insurance designation for drivers considered to be high risk.

If your insurance carrier doesn't offer SR-22, you'll have to switch carriers to get insured. Having to switch carriers can compound the cost issues as they not only view you as a risk due to your DUI conviction, they also view you as a potential risk due to your lack of history with them. You can expect your insurance to increase more than $1,000 per year, a total that can eclipse $3,000 when you consider the fact that you will be required to carry SR-22 insurance for three years after your conviction. This is on top of what you already pay now for auto insurance.

If you are able to avoid a conviction on DUI, you may still face the prospects of points on your driver's license from other offenses such as reckless driving, speeding, or failing to obey traffic signals. It's important to fight those as well to avoid the risk of having your license suspended due to accumulated points.

Fight Back To Reduce The Cost Of DUI Charges

The best way to minimize the costs of a DUI - both in terms of criminal penalties and financial costs - is to act quickly to retain legal counsel and fight your DUI charges. At Drennan Law Firm we have a proven ability to take on and win the toughest of DUI cases in Charleston and throughout South Carolina.

Begin your defense today by calling 843-352-4149 or contact us online to set up your free initial consultation. You'll have the opportunity to meet directly with a defense lawyer who can explain your options and lay out the road ahead. We look forward to helping you protect your reputation, your finances, and your future from a DUI charge.