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Driving Under the Influence in South Carolina

When individuals are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in South Carolina they are facing serious consequences. South Carolina has some of the most stringent laws in the nation regarding DUI. While driving while intoxicated is not against the law in SC, and prosecutors are required to prove the sense of impairment was so affected motorists were unable to operate a vehicle, SC also has some of the most expensive and strictest punishments in the nation.

Not only do individuals arrested for DUI risk losing licenses, but also incarceration, and expensive fines. Fines range from $400-$1000 for first time offenders, payment of court costs, surrender of license, and 48 hours to 90 days in jail. Individuals may also face a mandatory six-month suspension off driving privileges. Individuals are also required to complete a state sponsored alcohol counseling course in order for driver licenses to be reinstated and are required to carry high risk insurance on the vehicle for three years.

For repeat offenders the penalties are even higher. Penalties range from $2,100-$6,500 for second time offences, and $3,800-$6,000 for third time offenders. Second time offenders may face five to thirty days in jail, with third time offenders facing sixty days to five years in jail. Driving privileges are suspended for one year for second time offenders, with a mandatory interlock suspension placed on vehicle. Third time offender’s licenses are revoked for 2-4 years, with motor vehicle being forfeited. Mandatory ignition interlock on vehicle for three years, in addition to filing high risk insurance for three years.

In addition to these strict laws, a DUI conviction can be used against individuals for ten years, following a third-time conviction, and will be part of the individual’s criminal history forever. Not only that, but previous convictions can be used in determining sentences if individuals are arrested again for DUI. There is also no pretrial intervention, and no removal of the conviction from records.

For these reasons a dui attorney Greenville SC is crucial in reducing sentences, suspension of licenses for the minimal time necessary, and reducing jail time. Those without lawyers are more likely to suffer more lengthy jail time, lose licenses for longer periods, and pay more hefty fines, especially for first time offenders. Licenses that would be otherwise suspended may also be temporarily saved from being revoked with the help of a lawyer. Individuals can request an administrative hearing to temporarily halt license suspensions but must do so within thirty days of arrest.

Lawyers can also assist in issues related licenses suspended for failure to allow a breathalyzer test to be administered, or failure to take a field sobriety test. Refusals lead to a six-month automatic suspension of driving privileges. Lawyers can often assist in restoring licenses. Individuals are not automatically guilty of DUI simply for sobriety test refusal, especially since it isn’t against the law in South Carolina to drink while operating a motor vehicle. Convictions in SC are based on proof beyond reasonable doubt that an individual’s ability to operate a motor vehicle was materially impaired.