What Are The DUI Laws in South Carolina?
FAQs About South Carolina DUI Laws
You’ve been arrested for DUI and understandably you have questions about the DUI laws in South Carolina. Our South Carolina DUI Lawyers have answers and we win tough DUI cases. Contact us today for a FREE Consultation. We will answer all your questions about South Carolina DUI Law.
4 Ways to Avoid a DUI in South Carolina
In South Carolina, as well throughout the United States, drunk driving is a very serious issue. This is why many of the consequences for even first-time offenders are so severe. In many cases, a driving while intoxicated (DWI) charge can carry with it jail time, high court costs and fees, community service, and other far-reaching and unanticipated consequences.
In general, people do not wake up in the morning and decide to drink all day and then get behind the wheel. It is often something that happens once a person becomes impaired to the point that the decision-making process becomes compromised. However, with a little planning, you might be able to avoid a DWI the next time you go out for a night on the town. Here are some DWI prevention tips to reduce your chances of being charged with drunk driving.
Know the Law
If you are not familiar with South Carolina’s driving under the influence laws, now is the time to educate yourself. Take a few moments to brush up on the state’s laws, your rights and the consequences if law enforcement charges you with a DWI and a potential conviction.
Make a Plan
If you intend to consume alcohol, arrive to the bar or the party with a plan. Trying to get home by yourself after a night of drinking can be very difficult and might lead to an accident. Be sure to arrange for a safe ride home before you start drinking.
Have a Designated Driver
If you are carpooling with a group of friends, one of them should be the designated driver. However, it might be hard to convince one of your friends to abstain from drinking. Because this is a very real and normal risk, it is always a good idea to have a sober ride on standby. Talk to a friend or relative about being your back-up in case your designated driver falls through and you need someone to come pick you up. Someone who cares about you would rather come pick you up than see you in jail or hurt in an accident.
Bring Cab Fare
Sometimes even the best laid plans do not work out. For example, maybe your designated driver did not stay sober and your phone died so you cannot call someone else to come pick you up. This is where Plan C comes in handy. Always carry cab fare or be prepared to use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft so that you can still get home safely.
While the above prevention tips can help you avoid a DWI, there is always the chance that you might make a mistake. If this happens and you are facing a DWI charge, keep in mind that you still have rights and options. With a strong defense, you might be able to successfully fight back against a DWI charge and avoid a conviction.
Is The Amount of Alcohol in Your System Important for a DUI Charge?
When you are facing drunk driving charges, there are several different points that you need to carefully consider. One of these has to do with the blood alcohol concentration percentage that is associated with your case. This is important because it is often central to the case against you. However, that isn’t the only reason it is important.
Your blood alcohol concentration percentage is a good indicator of how the alcohol is impacting your mental, physical and cognitive abilities. The higher the BAC, the more pronounced the negative impacts.
By the time you hit .07 to .09 percent, you will most likely have motor and cognitive impairment issues. There isn’t any escaping this fact. Your self control and caution decrease at this point. Your abilities to steer and react to sudden issues while you drive are also decreased. You might have trouble seeing or changing lanes.
At .10 to .12 percent, you will likely have slurred speech. Your ability to drive is reduced even more because you will have trouble thinking and reacting at this point. You won’t be able to judge situations properly and might take unnecessary risks.
When your BAC is .15 percent, you are more than 380 times more likely to be involved in an accident that is fatal than what you are when you haven’t been drinking. The risk of death from alcohol toxicity often increase at between .30 to .40 percent.
Thinking about the impacts of BAC on your abilities makes it a bit easier to see why drunk driving charges are taken seriously. In some cases, it might be possible to call the BAC measurement into question as part of your defense strategy.
What Does it Take to Get to .08%?
When you plan a night out for drinking, one thing you have to be cautious of is how much alcohol you have. The number of drinks matters, as does the percentage of alcohol and the way your body is metabolizing it.
It’s not always simple to know your limit, which is why it’s advisible to stop drinking an hour or two before you intend to leave an event. Additionally, it’s a smart choice to carry a smartphone Breathalyzer or a pocket-sized breath test to guarantee that you’re legal to drive.
How Soon Can You Measure Your Blood Alcohol Content?
You can measure it within 15 minutes of having your first drink. Typical wisdom would suggest that if you have only one drink per hour, you’ll stay well within the legal limit to drive. However, you have to remember that all alcoholic drinks have different levels of alcohol. A single drink doesn’t necessarily mean a single beverage. A drink is defined as a 12-ounce beer, 5-ounce of wine or a shot of distilled spirits (1.5 ounces). If you order a beverage with two shots or a mixture of alcohol, you’ll have to calculate exactly how many “drinks” it really is.
What Kinds of Factors Affect Your BAC?
There are many factors that can affect your BAC including your weight, age, how much you’ve eaten and others. Even your mood can change the way your body metabolizes alcohol.
Since there are so many factors that influence intoxication, it’s really important that you use a breath test to determine your BAC before driving. If you aren’t sure if you’re intoxicated and don’t have a Breathalyzer handy, then you may want to call a ride-sharing service or friend to take you home.
What Should You Do if You’re Accused of a DUI But Are Under the Limit?
You can face a DUI and be convicted, even if you’re under the .08% limit. If you are driving recklessly and it appears that alcohol is playing a role in that behavior, then the police have the ability to arrest you for a DUI.
The good news about that situation is that the police will need more evidence to support a DUI charge. Your attorney will be able to look at each aspect of the case and make sure that you were treated fairly. If not, then they will work to have the charges eliminated or lowered.
How Alcohol Impacts Driving at Different BAC Levels
From your first drink, alcohol can impact your ability to drive. It gets more pronounced the more you have, which is why there is a legal limit of 0.08%. But it can have an impact below that, and it’s also important to understand how your ability changes the farther over the limit you go.
Now, everyone is different. Some people handle their alcohol better than others. Those who drink more often may function at a higher level even with a higher BAC. People also reach those higher BAC numbers after different amounts of drinks. For instance, a 250-pound man would not see the same increase as a 90-pound woman after taking a shot.
Still, no matter how much alcohol it takes to increase your BAC, you can expect to see these changes:
- At 0.02%, you will feel relaxed and warm. You may have more trouble watching something that is moving or paying attention for a long stretch of time.
- At 0.05%, you start to see an impact on your judgment. You will feel good, but your reaction time may slow. Your response times and coordination see some negative changes, as well. The issues from above, such as tracking moving objects, just get worse.
- At 0.08%, which is what most people think of as legally drunk, you start to see issues with balance and self-control. You may struggle to remember things and have a decline in ability to make reasonable choices. Operating a complex vehicle becomes difficult. You may struggle with speed control and depth perception.
- At 0.10%, everything really starts slowing down. Your thinking even slows. You slur your words. While driving, you may not hit the brakes when you need to and you could struggle with the basics, like staying in your lane.
- At 0.15%, you have hit the level where you likely cannot remember it the next day. You may throw up and feel sick. Muscle control disappears almost entirely. You often can’t pay attention to the road at all. You cannot process what is happening around you — what you see and hear.
As you can see, things deteriorate fairly quickly. Even at the legal limit, you could suffer from impairment. If you go over it even a little, police officers likely will not have a hard time realizing that you are driving under the influence.
After an arrest, you really need to know your legal options. A DUI is expensive. It can cost you your job. It can really impact your future. You must know what steps you can take to put this behind you and focus on a positive future.
The Legal Limit Does Not Protect You From a DUI
People sometimes make the mistake of thinking that the legal limit for a driver’s alcohol consumption — a Blood Alcohol Concentration of 0.08% for most drivers — can protect them from getting a DUI. It’s important to understand that that is not exactly how the law works, despite this common misconception.
For example, imagine that you looked up how much alcohol you could drink in a set period of time without going over the limit. When hitting the bar with your friends, you stuck to that amount. You then hopped in the car to drive home.
An officer still pulled you over and asked you to take a breath test. You took it, confident that you would be under 0.08%, and you were right. It was 0.07%. You grinned, feeling like you did the right thing and used the law to your advantage, making sure you would not get arrested.
However, the officer decided to arrest you anyway. What happened?
Was Your Driving Impaired?
The big question to ask is whether or not your driving was impaired by the alcohol. That’s actually what the officer is looking for. Maybe you drifted over the center line repeatedly or ran a stop sign. The officer pulled you over and decided you were too drunk to drive.
But what about the limit? It doesn’t necessarily matter. You can suffer from impairment even under 0.08%.
Look at it like this: If you break the 0.08% limit, the officer can now show the court that you violated the law. No matter how you felt — maybe you could barely tell you had been drinking — the court considers you to be intoxicated under the law. It’s known as “per se intoxicated” and the officer doesn’t need anything else to prove it.
Under that 0.08% limit, the officer can’t use your BAC to show you were drunk, but that doesn’t mean he or she can’t use other evidence. Maybe the officer has you on camera failing field sobriety tests or driving over the centerline. With that evidence, the officer can argue that you did drive while impaired by alcohol.
The test may even come back into the picture at this point. After all, your 0.07% proves you had been drinking. The officer’s other evidence proves that you felt impaired. Suddenly, you have a DUI even though you believed you followed the law to the letter.
Your Defense Options
If this happened to you, you probably feel fairly shocked and concerned. You didn’t want to jeopardize your future, but now it’s happened to you all the same. It’s very important that you understand your legal defense options and what you can do to protect that future moving forward
South Carolina Drivers Legal Rights
Rules and laws governing DUI arrests and convictions in South Carolina are complex and designed to provide severe consequences for those convicted. Beating a DUI charge may be challenging, but it is possible. Nationwide statistics report a wide variance in DUI dismissal rates and unsuccessful conviction rates. The reasons also vary, but often include a violation of the driver’s rights.
How Can a DUI Charge be Challenged & Won?
A DUI arrest is a serious thing, especially in the case of multiple offenses. In South Carolina, felony DUI charges are assessed starting with a third DUI, increasing the severity of any consequences. Some DUI cases are able to be successfully challenged if the arresting officers did not follow proper procedure. There are many areas in which this could happen, including:
- Not having proper cause for stopping a driver to begin with
- Not reading a driver his or her legal rights at the time of arrest
- Not conducting a field sobriety test properly
- Not appearing in court for a designated hearing
Police officers have very clear guidelines that must be followed when stopping a driver and pursuing a potential DUI arrest. If any one step is not appropriately conducted, an arrested driver may have good cause for a dismissal of his or her case.
A word about DUI testing
Many people hear that they must agree to any field sobriety test or blood alcohol test or they will face an automatic DUI arrest. That is only partially true. The reality is that a driver can opt to refuse tests, but should know that, under South Carolina law, he or she will receive an automatic driver’s license suspension for at least 90 days. Even if a driver agrees to DUI testing, but is belligerent or displays any opposition, that behavior can also be used in court against the defendant.
Written Notice Prior to DUI Testing
Before a law enforcement officer can administer a DUI test, the driver must be provided written notice of his or her rights. These include the right to refuse testing, understanding that doing so leads to automatic license suspension and use of such refusal in court as well as an automatic 30-day suspension of driving privileges if the blood alcohol content (BAC) is over .15 percent.
Drivers also have the right to pay for additional independent blood alcohol testing as well as the right to request an administrative hearing within 30 days of any notice of suspension. If no hearing is requested, the driver is required to enroll in a substance abuse program.
All of these rights should be clearly communicated to the driver. If you have been arrested on suspicion of DUI, but believe your rights have been violated, it is important that you work with a DUI defense attorney. Obtaining proper legal help is the best way to ensure fair representation and an opportunity to reduce your penalties
South Carolina DUI Checkpoints
It can happen to anyone: You have a few beers or drinks with some friends, and suddenly it’s later than you planned and you’ve got to figure out how you’ll get home. You think you’re fine to drive, and you’re going down the highway without any issues. Suddenly, you see flashing lights ahead of you – it’s a DUI checkpoint.
You know you’re not drunk, but you start to sweat and get nervous about what the cops will think about you driving with any alcohol in your system. Your mind starts racing with questions. “Are they going to find ways to say that I’m close to the limit?” “What if they make me walk the line or touch my fingers to my nose?”
Then, it hits you, the only question that really matters other than “am I going to jail?”: “Will I lose my job because of this DUI checkpoint?”
It’s possible, and more likely than it’s ever been before.
More DUI Enforcement Than Ever Before
Unfortunately, the situation described above is increasingly common in South Carolina. If you feel like you’ve seen more police officers and state troopers than ever before, you’re right. Why the increase? It’s simple: South Carolina was embarrassed by how poorly it performed in some safety studies. The state was said to have the “most dangerous highways” in a 2012 survey and was in the “top 5 for DUIs” in a 2016 study.
This survey embarrassed a lot of people who need to get re-elected, and they need to make sure it looks like they’re doing something productive. The result has police out in force every day of the week and DUI checkpoints popping up somewhere in the state every weekend (and some weekdays).
Will a DUI Arrest Get You Fired?
If you get caught up in South Carolina’s efforts to prove it doesn’t have dangerous roads and you’re sentenced to jail time (up to 30 days for a first offense, up to one year for second offense), it’s likely that you will lose your job. After all, why would an employer keep you on the job if you suddenly need to be out for a month or more due to a criminal conviction?
Things can get tricky even if you don’t have to serve jail time. If convicted, you will also lose your driver’s license (six months for first offense, one year for second offense) whether or not you go to jail. Will you be able to get to work every day if you can’t drive, or will you start to miss days here and there until it becomes a problem that your employer can’t ignore?
If you’re a commercial driver, you face an automatic one-year suspension even for first DUIs. If you can’t get to work or don’t have a required license to perform your job, it’s likely that you will face termination.
How Can You Protect Your Job & Your Future After a DUI?
So, what should you do if you get caught in one of the checkpoints or traffic stops? Follow the helpful tips below to give yourself a strong chance of fighting potential DUI charges and protecting your job.
Tip 1: Don’t pay the fine automatically. The prosecutor might present you with what seems to be a sweet deal: They’ll reduce the charges if you accept responsibility and pay a fine. What they won’t tell you is that this might not fix issues with your driver’s license, and it’s creating a criminal record that you possibly could avoid altogether.
Tip 2: Consult a lawyer before paying a fine or going to court. We’re not giving a sales pitch – this truly can make the difference between moving forward with your life and having a DUI stay on your record and harm you for decades to come. An attorney can help you understand whether you have a chance to fight the charges, whether you have to agree with the charges but get the penalties lowered and your record cleared, or whether you have any other options available to you. An attorney can also help you understand whether you can get your driver’s license back and how you can clear your record in the future (a process called expungement).
Tip 3: Stay out of trouble. While your case is being resolved, make sure that you keep your nose clean. It can be tough to do this if your group of friends is going to bar or even hanging out and watching a football game, but you need to stay out of trouble or it will make things even worse for your DUI case. Until you’re in the clear, be sure you have a designated driver if you’re going to have some drinks, and try to avoid situations that tempt you to go overboard with drinking.
Can I Receive a DUI in SC While Parked In My Driveway?
One thing that many people do is to lay down in their vehicle while they try to let the effects of the alcohol lessen. Even though you might think this is a good idea, it might not be. Did you know that it is possible to face drunk driving charges if you are in a vehicle, even if the vehicle is in a driveway?
The issue that come into the picture in this case is what is going on while you are sleeping. If you are sleeping in the driver’s seat of the vehicle and have the keys in the ignition, the police officers could construe that to mean that you either just made it home or are planning on leaving. Because the keys are in the ignition and you are in the driver’s seat, you are said to have control of the vehicle.
Generally, drunk driving charges deal with vehicles that are roads. Your driveway likely falls under the same umbrella as a road because the driveway is accessible to vehicles and used by vehicles.
No matter what circumstances are present in drunk driving cases, you have the right to tell your side of the story. You should think carefully about the defense strategies you have available so that you can determine the one that best suits your goals.
Drunk Driving Due to Alcohol Addiction
One factor that comes to light in many drunk driving cases is that the person who is facing charges is addicted to alcohol. This is something that is hard to overcome, but it isn’t impossible for the people who want to get sober.
There are many different things that you can do to get sober and stay that way. While this might not get you off of the current drinking and driving charges you face, it could help you to avoid future charges. Here are some tips to help you out:
What Options are Available to Get Sober?
Some people are able to stop drinking alcohol on their own. Other people need help through rehabilitation programs. People with more serious addictions might need inpatient programs to help them get sober and deal with the issues that are leading them to drink. Outpatient programs and community support programs might be sufficient for people who have an addiction that is life-impacting but not as severe.
How Can I Stay Sober?
Staying sober is often difficult because you might be used to a social life that revolves around alcohol. You may need to change your circle of friends so that you aren’t always around adult beverages. You might need to enlist the help of trusted friends to come out with you and help you avoid temptation. Having someone who you can call 24 hours a day for help could help you to cope with the urges to drink when they hit.
You have to be ready to make lifestyle changes if you want to get sober and remain that way. Try to have a positive attitude, even when the going gets tough. This could help you out more than you realize.
South Carolina DUI Laws & Your Ability To Work
If you’re threatened with a DUI charge, one thing you immediately think about is the risk of losing your job. No one wants to find out that a DUI violates a contract or makes the individual ineligible for a job he or she want, so it’s important to get the right information ahead of time.
It’s always going to be in your best interests to fight a DUI charge and try to get it eliminated or reduced. DUI charges stay on your background check and criminal record permanently in most cases. A DUI is among the most commonly found offense on background checks.
Will a DUI Affect Your Right to Work?
It depends on the employer and the job you want, for example, if you are applying for a job working as a driver. If you’ve only recently received a DUI conviction, then it’s likely you’ll be disqualified. If the position requires you to use your own vehicle or a company vehicle, that might also disqualify you from the job. No company wants to take on liability if it can help it.
Another thing an employer may look at is how often you’ve violated the law. Are you a serial offender of DUI laws? Do you have a history of DUI offenses along with other violations? The employer has to consider his or her safety, the safety of clients and employees and if you’re important enough to the company to take on the risk. In most cases, employers will hire someone with a clean background before someone with a DUI for liability’s sake.
Finally, the employer may look at what you’ve done since the DUI conviction. If you went to rehabilitation and AA meetings, took steps to rehabilitate yourself and are continuing to do so, the employer may be happier to bring you on board than if you did nothing to counteract the offense. Showing that you want to do better is always a benefit in the eyes of an employer.
There are some cases where you may lose your right to obtain licensing or could lose your ability to drive, hurting your ability to get to work or to do your job. In those cases, even if your employer is okay with you working there, you may struggle to meet attendance requirements.
A DUI is not good news for anyone, but with help, it’s possible to prevent it from hitting your record. The right defense does matter and can help you keep or find a good job.
Job Loss and DUIs: What to do to Protect Your Work
You decided to go out for a night on the town, but you didn’t think you’d get as drunk as you did. You didn’t plan to get a cab or taxi, and no one could take you home. You made the bad decision to get behind the wheel, and moments later, an officer pulled you over.
People end up in situations like yours fairly often. It doesn’t take much to end up with a DUI, but once you have allegations against you, you’re in a difficult position. If you don’t protect yourself and fight the charges, you could lose your job.
Why do People Who Get DUIs Lose Their Jobs?
The reasons vary. If a person drives for work and is unable to get an occupational license, then he or she won’t be able to work. As a result, the employer may fire him or her. Even if the individual can get an occupational license, the employer may find the individual to be too much of a liability and let the driver go from the position.
Another reason for getting fired after a DUI would be if it’s in your work contract. Your employment contract likely has a list of reasons for which you can be terminated from your position. It’s likely that you could be fired if you are facing charges, because you become a liability to your company and could hurt the company’s reputation.
What Can You do to Protect Your Job?
First, take the time to think about a defense. In some cases, a breathalyzer may not have been accurate, or you may be able to show that the officer didn’t have a reason to pull you over. A strong defense could help you show that there were mistakes made and help you have the case dismissed.
Can Foods Containing Alcohol Lead to a DUI?
There are many foods and drinks that contain alcohol. Sometimes, it’s a small amount. Other times, the alcohol can add up and leave you tipsy, so it’s important not to drive if you’ve ingested them. Here are a few unexpected places that you’ll find alcohol in everyday food and drinks.
Food That Contains Alcohol
There are many foods that contain alcohol (listed as alcohol by volume). For comparison, remember that a 330ml beer bottle at 5% contains .1g of alcohol. Some include:
- Ripe pears, with .04g per 100g (.04% ABV)
- Burger rolls (1.28% ABV).
- White wine vinegar, with up to 2.64g per liter
You may also find that certain foods you eat are cooked with alcohol. For example, there are recipes to baste turkey or chicken in beer. This cooks off somewhat, but depending on how hot the alcohol gets and how much is added, the food you’re interested in eating might still have enough alcohol to make for a potent surprise.
Doesn’t Alcohol Burn Off When It’s Cooked?
Sometimes, yes. Other times, it hasn’t cooked long enough to bake off. Here’s an example. If you add a cup of wine to a soup and simmer it for two hours, the likelihood is that most of that alcohol will cook off. However, if you cook the soup and add the alcohol prior to serving, nearly everything you pour in will still be in the meal.
If you plan to eat out and know that alcohol is a part of a gravy or sauce, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask when the alcohol is added. If it’s added prior to cooking, it will reduce much more than if it’s added during the final stages of cooking. Some restaurants may know the amount of alcohol estimated to remain if you ask.
If you aren’t sure if you’re feeling tipsy from your food but you feel that you may be impaired in some way, it’s always best to get a safe, sober ride home. It’s better to err on the side of caution than to end up in an accident because of accidental alcohol ingestion.
Energy Drinks & Alcohol Laws
Energy Drinks & Alcohol: Not Worth the Risk
Many people enjoy going out and having a drink or two with friends or colleagues. In most cases, they spend time together, then leave and arrive home safely. However, sometimes, people make the decision to get behind the wheel when they shouldn’t. They might cause a drunk-driving collision or you to be pulled over and arrested for driving dangerously.
There are certain actions that increase the risk of this happening including combining alcohol and caffeine. When you combine alcohol and caffeine, caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol. You might think you’re alert and ready to drive, but the reality could be that you’re still very much intoxicated.
Mixing Caffeine & Alcohol is a Dangerous Game
Mixing caffeine and alcohol is a hazard to your health and the health of those around you. Caffeine doesn’t affect how quickly your liver metabolizes alcohol, even if it makes you feel as if you’re more alert. That means that you may still be just as intoxicated as you would be without caffeine, but you also have a false sense of your own abilities.
Mixing energy drinks and alcohol is particularly common among young people in the United States. Around 31.8 percent of young adults between 19 and 28 admitted to consuming these types of mixed drinks at least once in the last year, based on a 2017 study. Additionally, those who binge drink are more likely to mix alcohol with energy drinks, according to a study that monitored drinking among Michigan’s high school students.
Another interesting fact is that drinkers between 15 and 23 who chose to mix energy drinks and alcohol were up to four times more likely to binge drink than those who didn’t choose to mix their drinks. This could be a result of the masking effects of the caffeine, which makes individuals believe they’re less intoxicated than they are.
As you can see, mixing drinks with caffeine is a danger to yourself and others. It’s a good idea to avoid doing so, but if you intend to do so, make plans to get home safely and avoid driving.
How Mixed Drinks Can Lead to a DUI
When you drink, you may think you know how the alcohol will affect you. Since that’s the case, you may also believe that there is no risk of a DUI if you get behind the wheel.
The trouble is that some drinks cause unexpected results. For example, some drinks combine soft drinks and hard liquor or sugary syrups with spirits. While this in itself isn’t a problem, the issue that can result is that people may drink more alcohol than intended. The sugary taste hides the flavor of the alcohol, so people may mistakenly believe that the alcohol content is not as high as it is.
Sugar and alcohol combined cause some trouble due to the fact that they are both addictive. Interestingly, sugar can boost alcohol’s effects. On top of this, they both trigger the pleasure center of the brain, making them a dangerous duo. The drinks are easy to consume and the amount you’ve had can become distorted. Adding up drinks to decide if you can drive won’t work as well with mixed drinks, so the only way to be 100 percent certain is to make sure you carry a portable breathalyzer.
How Can You Avoid a DUI When Drinking Mixed Drinks?
To avoid getting a DUI, there are a few tips you should remember. First, if you plan to go out and drink, plan for a sober ride home. Whether that’s a ride-sharing service or a friend who is a designated driver, planning ahead will help you avoid a drunk-driving incident.
Another tip, if you have to drive, is to drink water between your alcoholic beverages. This fills you up and makes certain that you are washing alcohol out of your system. Additionally, you won’t be able to drink as much alcohol in the time frame as you would if you drank alcohol with no nonalcoholic beverages in between.
Finally, carry a breathalyzer. It is not incriminating to have one on hand, and it’s a good idea if you plan to drink any amount. You can test, and if you are above the limit, wait before you drive. It’s the only device that can tell you (although these devices are not infallible) if you are legally able to get behind the wheel of your vehicle. If you are over the limit, continue testing every 15 to 30 minutes until your BAC is below the .08 percent limit. If you can, wait until it drops to zero.
These are some tips to help you avoid a DUI in South Carolina. Be cautious if you choose to drink and drive yourself home.
Holidays & Drunk Driving Charges
If you drink and get caught, you could be faced with a DUI that has a 10-year look-back period. A first offense is a misdemeanor, a second is a Class C misdemeanor, and a A third is a Class A misdemeanor. These each come with their own penalties, which can be severe.
How Buch Does a DUI Cost?
The penalties for the misdemeanor itself include a fine of $400 for a first offense or a jail sentence of up to 30 days. Second offenses cost between $2,100 and $5,100 in fines plus jail sentences of up to a year. Third offenses are more severe and come with fines of up to $3,800 and $6,300 as well as up to three years imprisonment. If this is the fourth DUI you’ve received in the last 10 years, then you face a Class F felony and up to five years in prison.
Regardless of the offense, you’ll be asked to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program, too. This, combined with the cost of higher insurance rates, ignition interlock devices and other impacts on your life can add up quickly.
Will You Lose Your License if You Receive a DUI?
Yes. You’ll lose your license for six months if your blood alcohol content was under .15% and indefinitely if above. If this is a second DUI offense, the license suspension is indefinite. While that might sound like you’ll never drive again, the reality is that you can use an ignition interlock device in lieu of a license suspension, so you can get back behind the wheel quickly.
Keep in mind that crashes causing serious injuries or situations where your BAC is considered high may result in harsher penalties.
If you are facing a DUI, don’t delay in building up a strong defense against the allegations. DUIs have a significant impact on your finances and may result in the loss of your license, your freedoms and autonomy. It’s important that you do all you can to avoid a conviction and protect your rights while facing charges.
How to Avoid Being Charged with a DUI in South Carolina
Once spring rolls around, one of the most important things college aged kids can think about is where they’re going to go for spring break. As these young adults embark on their sun-filled vacations away from the safety of their home with mom and dad, their newfound freedom encourages them to engage in potentially risky behavior they otherwise may not engage in, like drunk driving.
Although, it’s advisable that you don’t drink at all, if you’re going to do so, there are a number of precautions you should take. If followed, your risk of being potentially stopped for DUI go down considerably.
If you’ve had anything to drink, even if you had only a small amount, it’s important that you do not drive. This is because even a relatively minor degree of intoxication can impair your ability to make sound judgments.
To avoid being placed in a situation to determine whether you’re too drunk to drive, you should leave your car parked and either take either a cab or public transportation. Planning in advance how you’ll get to and fro should you be inebriated will ensure that you don’t engage in poor decision-making when you’re most vulnerable to making the wrong choice.
Aside from the aforementioned, as part of making advance decisions, it’s important that, if you are going to drive to the event, that you do so with a designated driver in mind. This individual may elect to either stay at the party and not drink or drop you off and pick you back up again at a designated time. And, if you or one your friends is unwilling not to drink, then staying the night at a nearby hotel may be ideal.
Likewise, hosting the party at your place instead can serve as a way to avoid having to make transportation arrangements altogether. In that case, you can offer any additional space to guests who may feel too intoxicated to be able to drive themselves home.
Last, if you see someone you suspect of being drunk planning to get behind the wheel of the car, you should do your best to discourage him or her from doing so. It’s important that you discourage others from riding with that individual as well.
If you or someone you know has been charged with DUI, an attorney can provide guidance.
Contact Us For a Free Case Evaluation
Our South Carolina DUI lawyers handle tough cases. Contact us to schedule a FREE consultation with a knowledgeable DUI lawyer with no further obligation. We urge you to contact us as soon as possible to increase your chances of a successful outcome in your South Carolina DUI case.