Drunk driving is a significant issue, especially when an offender engages in repeated impaired driving behavior. South Carolina, like other states, takes repeat offenses extremely seriously. Those convicted more than once face increasing penalties, which can have a lasting impact on their lives.
South Carolina law features a unique set of regulations and penalties. The consequences of a repeat drunk driving conviction in this state could result in significant and long-lasting implications for one’s personal and professional life, making it crucial to understand the specifics of one’s circumstances when facing decisions about how to respond to pending charges.
South Carolina’s three-strikes rule
The state of South Carolina employs a “three-strikes” policy for drunk driving offenses, meaning the penalties increase substantially with each subsequent conviction. A second drunk driving conviction within 10 years of the first may result in higher fines, longer imprisonment and a mandatory ignition interlock device (IID). By reaching a third conviction, the fines and jail time can be even more substantial, as well as the potential for permanent license revocation.
How the court views repeat offenders
Repeated drunk driving offenses are often seen as a sign of disregard for the law and the safety of oneself and others. Consequently, judges may be less inclined to offer leniency when repeat offenses occur. Repeat offenses could also result in mandatory jail sentences, even for what might appear to be minor offenses. The court may also require enrollment in substance abuse programs, which could be time-consuming and costly.
License suspensions and other penalties
A repeat drunk driving conviction in South Carolina almost always leads to the suspension of one’s driving privileges. Depending on the number of prior convictions and the time frame within which they occurred, a suspension could last anywhere from a year to a lifetime. Additionally, repeat offenders often face penalties such as community service, mandatory alcohol education programs and higher insurance premiums.
The financial burden of a repeat drunk driving conviction
The financial implications of a repeat drunk driving offense can be staggering. Fines can run into thousands of dollars, not including the cost of mandatory programs, legal fees and increased insurance rates. Repeat drunk driving convictions on your record can make it challenging to secure employment, increasing your financial strain.
Understanding your defense options if you’ve been arrested for impaired driving and you have similar offenses on your record already. Seeking legal guidance right away can help you to develop a suitable defense strategy.