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Penalties For DUI In South Carolina

Penalties, Consequences, & Impact of a DUI

For every conviction for driving under the influence, there are mandatory penalties. That means that if you are found guilty, or if you plead guilty or no contest to your South Carolina DUI charge, you will be subject to the basic penalty structure below. It is important to realize that every case is different, and there may be good reasons why you would be a candidate for the minimum or maximum penalty. For this reason, it is important to consult with a local South Carolina DUI attorney who practices in the county where your case is pending. Under the South Carolina DUI penalty statutes, the penalties that you may receive vary depending on several factors. The most important factors are 1) your alcohol level (BAC); and 2) whether you have prior DUI convictions, and if so, how many.

What is the Penalty for a First Offense DUI in South Carolina?

What is the Penalty for a Second DUI in South Carolina?

What is the Penalty for a Third DUI in South Carolina?

What is the Penalty for a Fourth DUI or Greater in South Carolina?

Consequences of a DUI Conviction

Imagine driving home on a Friday night. After work, you had stopped in to your favorite watering hole to unwind with some of your friends and kick off the weekend. On your way to your house in Mt. Pleasant, you pass a police officer going the opposite way. The next thing you know, the officer has done a U-turn and is following you. Maybe you have had a couple of beers or some tequila shots. No matter what you have had to drink, it might be enough to trigger a field sobriety test or a Breathalyzer. If you fail, you could be facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge.

As you probably know, a DUI conviction can cause you some serious legal troubles. You might have to pay the court thousands of dollars in fees and fines, you could have to spend some time in jail and there could be seemingly endless months of probation. There are also other DUI conviction consequences that can negatively affect your life.

Insurance Rates Go Up

After a driver is convicted of driving under the influence, he or she could see auto insurance premiums rise by anywhere from five to 100 percent. This can depend on the specific circumstances surrounding the DUI. For example, if law enforcement pulls over a driver for a minor traffic violation that results in a DUI, the insurance premium may not go up as much as it would have if the driver had been in a collision as a result of drinking and driving.

You Could Lose Your License

In most cases, the Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend the license of an individual immediately upon a DUI arrest. In other words, before you even go to trial, you could lose your license. However, you might be eligible to apply for and receive a provisional license so that you can drive to and from work. If you do receive a temporary license, you might have to have an interlock device installed on your car. With this device, you will have to pass a Breathalyzer test every time you try to start your vehicle. In addition, you will have to pay for the device and have monthly maintenance performed so that it is correctly calibrated.

You Might Lose Your Job

A drunk driving conviction in South Carolina results in not only short-term penalties, like fines and possibly jail time, but also long-term consequences in the way of compromised career opportunities.

A South Carolina DUI charge can have an immediate effect on forms of employment that involve driving. And a drunk driving conviction might show up on a criminal background check for years to come during employment screenings.

A DUI charge alone might be enough to cost you your job. For instance, if you continually miss work because of court appearances or other issues related to your arrest, your employer may become frustrated with your absences and let you go. Or, your employer might have a policy against employing individuals with criminal records. If you drive professionally, a DUI charge that causes you to lose your license can also cost you your job.

If you have been on the receiving end of a DUI charge, keep in mind that you still have rights and options. With a strong defense, you might be able to fight back against the charges and avoid a criminal conviction.

Criminal Charges are Possible

You might face criminal charges for driving drunk. If the accident resulted in an injury or death, you might be facing other charges based on those facts. These charges are very serious. Think about how you would feel having to face a manslaughter charge because someone died in the crash. These supplemental charges can mean that you are facing serious time in prison or considerable fines. You need to think carefully about how you are going to answer these charges if you are facing them.

Civil Lawsuits Might Occur

Civil lawsuits are possible if the victims opt to pursue claims for compensation. This is possible regardless of what happens in a criminal court regarding your case. These civil charges could mean that you are out of even more money if the claim against you is successful.

You need to think carefully about everything related to the crash before you make any decisions. Everything from the statements you make at the scene to what you decide regarding your cases can have an impact on the rest of your life. Make sure that you take the time to think carefully about what you are going to do.

Can You Lose Your Job After a DUI?

A DUI has many connotations, but the primary issue that employers see is that you are a risk. No employer wants to be held liable for a worker’s negligence or poor behaviors, so they’re less likely to want to take you on as an employee if you have a checkered past.

What about if you are already working for someone, though? Will you lose your job because of a mistake when you weren’t working? It’s possible, and there are a few reasons why.

Losing your job due to a DUI

The first reason you might lose your job is if you are required to drive for work. If you are a commercial driver or deliver goods, then you need a license to complete your job. If you have a suspended or revoked license, you can’t perform your duties and will likely be dismissed.

Even if you can get your license back, the cost of insuring you as a driver may be too high for some employers. The fact that you cost more than someone without a DUI could be enough to lead to your dismissal.

Another issue with DUIs is the time you’ll have to spend off the job. If you get arrested and are jailed because of hitting or hurting someone, you may not be able to go to work for a few weeks or months, depending on the circumstances. In that case, it shouldn’t be a surprise that your employer may not keep your position open for your return.

Still, other jobs are affected as a result of ethical concerns. If you get a DUI and have a license in medicine, for instance, the Medical Board in your state may consider whether to allow you to keep practicing. It’s a matter of ethical concerns to determine if you are safe to be around patients. You might have your license temporarily revoked or suspended completely, ending your career.

If you didn’t have a job before, getting a job with a DUI will be hard as well. You may have no way to get a license, no way to get to work or have to rely on others. Employers may not want to take you on as an employee, because you’re a risk.

The only way to avoid these hassles is to stop a conviction from occurring. Any time you’re facing a DUI, a strong defense is advisable.

Impact of a Felony DUI Conviction

The effects of a drunk driving conviction are far reaching. When the conviction is a felony, the effects are even more pronounced. It is imperative for you to understand exactly how this situation might impact your life.

We know that you are already facing a very stressful situation. Trying to think about the way that these charges might affect you years down the road might be more than you can handle. Still, you should realize that these effects might have an impact on how you decide to handle your defense.

An important factor in felony DUI cases is that a conviction on these charges will brand you a felon for the rest of your life. In South Carolina, this means that you can’t vote as long as you are on probation, on parole or serving time in prison or jail. It can also mean that you are unable to carry a firearm, receive certain financial or government assistance or hold certain job positions.

We understand that this information might spur you to action. We can help you learn about the defense strategies that you might utilize in your case. We work with you to understand the circumstances of the drunk driving charge so that we can help you find options that address the specific points of your case.

You have to take the driver’s seat in your drunk driving defense. We look to you to make decisions when they come up so that you remain in control of the plans. We work on your behalf to protect your rights and find options that apply to your case.

Minimize Your Penalties – Get a Free Consult

Those charged with DUIs in South Carolina are often wise to consult an experienced DUI attorney, who knows that the arrest and evidence can often be called into question. Sometimes, this means a defense attorney can make a motion to have the charges dropped altogether. In other cases, a defense attorney should work with you to ensure the best possible outcome is reached in your DUI case. Contact our South Carolina DUI lawyers for a FREE case evaluation.