What Is The Penalty For A First Time DUI In South Carolina?

Nobody is perfect. Someone can go decades without so much as a parking ticket and then find themselves facing a DUI. Good, upstanding people can fall victim to a moment of poor judgement. If you have been arrested for DUI for the first time, it's important to focus on your future. You can't do anything about what has already happened; no amount of self-pity, denial, or anger will change that. You can do something now to increase your chances of getting the best possible outcome from your DUI defense.

Contrary to what you may have heard, every DUI is a big deal; the state is not handing out free passes or do-overs for first-time offenders. While the criminal penalties for a first-time DUI are not as severe as those for second, third or subsequent offenses, the collateral consequences are vast. Having a DUI conviction on your record can make it difficult to find employment, get approval for loans or student aid, and damage your standing in the community. Depending on the licensing requirements for your profession, a DUI conviction can result in kissing the career you've worked for goodbye.

To minimize the damage of a first-time DUI charge and avoid the pitfalls of having a DUI conviction on your record it is crucial to have a tenacious defense. In Charleston and surrounding areas of South Carolina, that means leaning on the skill and knowledge of Drennan Law Firm. Call 843-352-4149 now for a free consultation.

South Carolina DUI Laws For First-Time Offenders

The laws that lay out what constitutes driving under the influence (DUI) are the same for a first time as they are for any other time. DUI in South Carolina is defined as driving with blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or more. DUI can be charged when a driver is under the influence of any drug or intoxicant, including alcohol. A driver is considered to be "under the influence" of a substance when their faculties to drive a vehicle are materially impaired. This means that even if a driver has a BAC below .08%, they can still be charged with DUI if they are unable to maintain control of their vehicle. For example, someone found driving the wrong way down a one-way street could be charged with DUI even with a BAC of .05%. Your friends or acquaintances who think they're fine as long as their keychain breathalyzer says they're less than .08 are wrong. Learn more about common DUI myths.

DUI cases go down two tracks and both of them are filled with potholes that can make your life more difficult. On the criminal track, you face jail time, fines, and the difficulties that come with having a criminal conviction on your record. On the administrative track, you face the loss of your driver's license or the hassle that comes with having to use an ignition interlock device to restore your driving privileges.

Fines, Penalties, And Jail Time For A DUI In SC

The criminal consequences for DUI in South Carolina are steep and first-time offenses are not an exception to that rule. There's nothing good to say about spending time in jail, emptying your bank account to pay fines, and bearing the burden of having a criminal conviction on your record.

In addition to the criminal penalties, you will suffer the suspension of your driver's license. Remember how difficult it was too get around as a teen before you had your license? Get ready for a trip back to the future as you try to put the pieces of your life back together without your car. If your driving privileges can be restored via provisional license, it's likely you will have to bear the indignity of blowing into an ignition interlock device to start your vehicle. That's not the type of conversation starter anybody is looking for at the office, school, or church.

The collateral consequences of a DUI conviction can be just as harmful as the criminal and administrative consequences. After a DUI conviction you'll be forced to settle for expensive auto insurance - if you can find insurance at all - and your conviction will follow you around on personal background checks. That can complicate everything from getting a job to having your rental applications approved.

What To Do After Receiving A DUI In South Carolina

We've covered all the terrible consequences of a DUI arrest and a DUI conviction. The best way to avoid those criminal, administrative, and collateral consequences is to have a strong defense led by a DUI defense lawyer who has the skills and knowledge necessary to take on tough DUI cases and win. At Drennan Law Firm we have taken on tough cases for first-time offenders, including those who have "failed" field sobriety tests, rely on their commercial driver's license (CDL) to make a living, and those facing felony-level DUI due to aggravating factors.

Once you are arrested for DUI your next move should be getting in touch with an attorney from our firm. DUI is not something you can talk your way out of no matter how pleasant of a person you are and how much the facts may be on your side. Your best bet is to save your talking for your attorney and let them begin building your defense. Remember, anything you tell the police is something they'll be happy to use against you.

Aggressive Defense For First-Time DUI Charges In Charleston

We get it. You've never been in trouble with the law before and you're scared. Scared about what this means for your future, scared what it means for your family, and scared about the criminal consequences. The police and prosecutor would love nothing more than for you to feel intimidated and start towing their line. But don't forget: it's their job to prove you are guilty, not your job to plead guilty. We are ready to fight for your rights minimize your exposure to damage. Contact us now for a free consultation with a proven DUI defense attorney.