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South Carolina officials tighten drunk driving laws even further

Anyone who has faced drunk driving charges in the state of South Carolina can attest to the fact that they are quite stringent. Beyond the sentence handed down by the court, being convicted for driving under the influence involves a wide range of financial and personal costs.

As an update to a blog post published on March 18, South Carolina's governor expanded the state’s ignition interlock requirements with the stroke of a pen. Both legislative chambers unanimously passed the bill, which has been referred to as "Emma's Law."

As a result of the new drunk driving law, ignition interlock devices will be mandated in the following cases:

  • First DUI offense: Those who have a blood-alcohol content registering over 0.15 percent will be required to use the device for six months.
  • Second DUI offense: Anyone who is facing a second DUI and meets the legal blood-alcohol limit (0.08 percent) will face a 2-year interlock requirement.
  • Fourth DUI offense: Interlock devices will be mandated for life upon conviction.

Generally speaking, drivers can get their driver’s earlier than normal if they adhere to the interlock requirements. For those who rely on a vehicle to get to work or bring their children to school, there may be little choice but to comply.

In addition to enforcing the interlock requirement, the state generally passes the cost of installing and maintaining the device onto the individual who has been convicted. By expanding the interlock requirements, the financial burden of a DUI conviction has also expanded in many cases.

Source: Insurance Journal, "New South Carolina Law Requires Ignition Locks in More DUI Cases," Jeffrey Collins, April 16, 2014

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