As in every state, South Carolina has DUI laws in place to keep people from drinking and driving. The BAC limit is lower than many and differs between those who are under 21 or older. Some consequences of getting a DUI in South Carolina can include high fines and even jail time. To help you know and understand the South Carolina DUI Laws to avoid taking risks, you will find the laws compiled below.
What Is the Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit?
In South Carolina DUI Laws, the blood concentration limit is 0.08% for those over 21 years of age and is 0.02% for those under 21 years old. Anyone who holds a CDL license, the limit is 0.04% and higher. It’s important to take into account that you can still be charged with a DUI in South Carolina DUI laws, even if your BAC is below any of the percentages respectively.
What Happens If I get Pulled Over?
Most of the time, a DUI happens when an officer makes a traffic stop for other traffic law infringements, such as speeding or not using your signals correctly. If the officer notices anything amiss, whether you are slurring while talking or have problems focusing, they will ask you to exit the vehicle. The officer must record the situation and they will require you to try to pass FSTs. If they consider you too intoxicated to drive according to the BAC limit, they will take you in for a blood test and you will be arrested.
Can I Refuse the BAC Test?
Yes, you are legally allowed to refuse a BAC test according to DUI laws in South Carolina. This is especially true if they are not one of the verified ones. The verified tests are the one-leg stand, walk-and-turn, and the gaze nystagmus test. You are also allowed to refuse a breath test if you have no previous DUI convictions.
What Happens if I Refuse It?
While it is legal and within your rights to refuse BAC tests, you should consider that the consequences could mean a suspension of your license for six months. Also, should you need to go to court, not having the results to prove that you were not drunk driving could be negative. It’s important to keep in mind that you can always contest your license suspension by getting an administrative hearing.
Can I Plead “Wet Reckless?”
Yes, wet reckless or plea bargaining for a lesser charge is possible in South Carolina. The penalties are not as serious as a DUI. If you can prove that you weren’t over the BAC limit, this is a better alternative than facing DUI penalties. There is still possible jail time or fines. However, the time and amount is less than what would be expected with a DUI.
What Are the Penalties I Should Expect?
For a wet reckless conviction, you could face up to 30 days in jail or from a $25.00 to $200.00 fine. It will also add six points to your driving record. This means that if you get up to 12 points, you could be facing a license suspension. Below are the penalties from a DUI conviction.
First Offense DUI
A first offense DUI of a BAC of 0.10% is labeled a misdemeanor. You can expect a penalty of a $400.00 fine or from 48 hours to 30 days of jail time. The 48 hours could be turned into public service according to a judge’s decision. Your license will be suspended for six months.
A first offense with a BAC of up to 0.15% could mean a $500.00 fine and from 72 hours to 90-day jail time, with 72 hours of public service being an alternative to the 72-hour jail time. Your license will be suspended up to 6 months.
A DUI for a BAC of more than 0.15% will see a $1000 fine or a minimum of 30 days to 90-days of jail time, or a 30 days minimum of public service. An IID must be used for six months.
Second Offense DUI
A second offense DUI with a BAC of 0.10% to 0.15% in South Carolina could mean a fine of $2500 to $5500 along with 30 days in jail, but could be up to 2 years of jail time. An IID will be required for 2 years.
A second offense DUI with a BAC of over 0.15% could mean a fine of $3500 to $5500 with 30 days of jail time, but could be a 2-year sentence of jail time. An IID must be used for two years.
Third Offense DUI
A third offense DUI of a 0.10% BAC would mean a $3800 to $6300 penalty in fines. In addition, you could receive 60 days in jail or up to 3 years of jail time. An IID would be required for 3 years. A BAC of above 0.15% would mean a fine of $5000 to $7500, along with 90 days of jail time to 4 years in jail. An IID would be required for 3 years.
Fourth Offense DUI
A fourth offense DUI is taken very seriously in South Carolina. A BAC of 0.10% is punished by a 1 to 5-year incarceration and is considered a felony. An IID would subsequently be required for life. A DUI of more than 0.10% would be punishable with 2 to 6 years of a prison sentence, with the IID required for life and is also considered a felony. A BAC on a fourth offense DUI with more than 0.15% is punishable with 3 to 7 years of incarceration. An IID is required for life in this instance as well.
While there is much more information to consider about South Carolina DUI Laws, this summary of penalties and laws in South Carolina can give you a glimpse into the dangers of drinking while intoxicated. It’s important to obey traffic laws . Avoid driving after drinking and keep your life and the lives of others safe.
Do you think the South Carolina DUI laws are fair or do you have any thoughts on the matter?