Drivers in South Carolina should be aware of the strict laws and penalties surrounding multiple DUI arrests and convictions in the state. The need for a fair and thorough DUI defense is important and the right of any driver arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Data from the Century Council shows that 15,674 people were arrested and charged with DUI in South Carolina in 2011. Numbers like that should make all drivers take note.
What constitutes a prior offense?
A prior offense is any DUI arrest that resulted in a conviction in the past 10 years. After that time, any such conviction cannot be held against you. This is true for any driver regardless of the state in which you hold a driver’s license.
Penalties for multiple DUI convictions
The legal consequences of a DUI conviction in South Carolina range dramatically based upon a driver’s registered blood alcohol content and how many prior offenses are on a driver’s record.
Unlike first-time DUI convictions, there is no option to substitute community service time for jail time. Drivers charged with third or fourth DUIs will face felony charges as well.
Following is a summary of what you will face if arrested on suspicion of a DUI that would be considered a second or beyond:
- Second DUI offense: Drivers convicted of two DUIs will face a one-year license suspension, fines ranging from $2,100 to $6,500, and between five days and three years in jail.
- Third DUI offense: Drivers convicted of three DUIs will face a two-year suspension of their driver’s license, fines from $3,800 to $10,000, and a minimum of 60 days in jail up to five years.
- Fourth DUI offense: With a fourth DUI conviction, a potential permanent license revocation may occur and drivers should expect a jail sentence of between one and seven years. Fines, of course, increase and vary depending upon the circumstances.
In addition to the above, drivers will be required to pay all court costs and to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
Representation is important
Statistics about dismissal rates for DUIs vary dramatically around the country, but all states do report some percentage of dismissed DUI cases. Additionally, with the range of penalties, drivers should seek the proper help to give them the best chance of receiving minimum consequences. If you have been arrested on suspicion of a second, third or fourth DUI, it is critical to contact an attorney as soon as possible.