Individuals who are pulled over, arrested, and charged with DUI in Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, or any other city in South Carolina should work to begin building a strong defense case as soon as they can and the professionals at DUIRights.com can help them.
Changes in DUI Laws in South Carolina
South Carolina law makers are currently working very hard to reduce the number of DUIs that happen within their state. Over the last 10 years, the fatality rate due to drunk driving accidents have dropped by 40 percent due to their proactive approach. Not surprisingly, the penalties for DUI for first time offenders are very harsh as a means to discourage drinking and driving behaviors. Some of the penalties a first time DUI offender could face include:
- $400 to $1,000 in Monetary Fines
- 2 to 90 Days in Jail
- Mandatory License Suspension of 6 Months
Why Your DUI Rights are Important for Your Case
For those who have been formally charged with DUI, finding legal guidance is very important. South Carolina does not allow plea bargaining for DUI cases as part of its proactive measures, which means the individual will need to have his or her case dismissed in order to avoid the harsh penalties outlined above. In order to win a DUI case, the client and attorney will often have to prove fault on behalf of the arresting officer. One way to do this is to prove the officer violated the individual’s rights.
Far more often and you might imagine, individuals do not know or do not fully understand their rights when it comes to a DUI arrest. This is where a good legal professional will be able to help. In order to determine which of the individual’s rights were violated during the course of the arrest, the lawyer will ask some of the following questions to learn more about what happened between the individual and the officer:
- Did the officer witness the individual driving the vehicle?
- What reason did the officer give for stopping the vehicle?
- What other witnesses were present? Were the officer’s observations of the individual’s driving behavior the same as those witnesses?
- Did the officer administer a Breathalyzer test? What were the results of that test?
- Were the individual’s Miranda Rights recited properly and understood by the driver?
Protect your rights and learn how to get your South Carolina DUI charges dismissed. Get Started Now by filling out the Free DUI Arrest Evaluation Form to get the answers you need.
No matter how guilty you may think you were at the time of the arrest, we want you to know one important thing: There is ALWAYS an aggressive and effective defense that will help you fight for the best possible outcome. In our experience, many officers do not follow proper field sobriety test procedures. In fact, challenging probable cause and the way field sobriety tests, blood tests and breath tests were administered is often a successful strategy to reduce or drop the charges. Also, many people plead guilty prematurely based on a breath test with a result above the legal limit. This is a common and costly mistake, as there are a variety of ways in having the breath test suppressed.
DUI Laws in South Carolina
South Carolina has a significant tourist industry, so it is no surprise its DUI laws are amongst the toughest in the country. While first time offenders are given some leniency, repeat offenders can expect significant fines and the possibility of serving extensive jail time.
Consequences for Refusing to Take Chemical Tests
As is every other state in the country, South Carolina is an implied consent state. Anyone refusing to take chemical tests in the state for any offense will face a mandatory license suspension:
- First offense – 6-month license suspension
- Second offense – 9-month license suspension
- Third offense – 1-year license suspension
Challenging BAC Levels in Court
South Carolina currently uses the standard blood alcohol content (BAC) levels to establish a DUI:
- Drivers that are under the age of 21, .02 percent
- Drivers 21 years of age and older, .08 percent
- Commercial Drivers, .04 percent
Is There Mandatory Jail Time Required for a DUI in South Carolina?
All things considered, first time offenders face minimum jail time, but repeat offenders can wind up spending years in jail on the high end of sentencing:
- First offense – a minimum of 48 hours with a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail
- Second offense – a minimum of 5 days with a maximum sentence of 3 years in jail
- Third offense – a minimum of 60 days with a maximum sentence of 5 years in jail
The lookback period in South Carolina is 10 years.
Monetary Fines and Penalties for DUI in South Carolina
First time offender monetary fines are about average, but repeat offenders will see both minimum and maximum fines increase significantly to some of the highest in the country:
- First offense – fine will range between $400 and $1,000
- Second offense – fine will range between $2,100 and $6,500
- Third offense – fine will range between $3,800 and $10,000
License Suspension for DUI in South Carolina
Regardless of the offense, if you are convicted of a DUI in South Carolina, you will lose your license for a significant period of time:
- First offense – automatic 6-month suspension
- Second offense – automatic 1-year suspension
- Third offense – automatic 2-year suspension (a fourth violation will result in forfeiture of license)
There is no mandatory Ignition Interlock Device (IID) required for first time offenders, but repeat offenders must have one installed on their vehicle once their license has been reinstated.
Finding a DUI Lawyer in South Carolina
South Carolina is known as golf heaven, but it also garnered headlines recently due to the passing of Emma’s Law. While an ignition interlock device was not previously mandatory, this new legislation has made it so for first time offenders with a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher. This has pleased MADD, but now makes it virtually mandatory that anyone arrested seek out the help of a DUI attorney in South Carolina when arrested and charged with DUI.
One of the worst things that can happen to anyone on vacation is being arrested. With such stringent laws in South Carolina, anyone with an existing DUI on their record will want to be prudent in hiring an attorney if charged again in this state. Whether you are a local or vacationer, finding a qualified DUI attorney to help you fight your charges is easy at DUIRights.com.
Hiring a DUI Attorney in South Carolina
What is that old saying…The man who represents himself has a fool for a client. Even if you have a legal background, it is always better to have someone else look at the case to present options, especially if you happen to be out of town and are only in South Carolina to enjoy the golf. In order to get the best representation, consider using a site like DUIRights.com, which offers a free case evaluation, information about state laws, and recommendations for local DUI attorneys.