The answer to this question is a resounding YES. In South Carolina, a person is guilty of DUI if he or she drives a motor vehicle within the State under the influence of “any drug, combination of drugs, or combination of drugs and alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive were ‘materially and appreciably’ impaired.” S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2930(A) (West 2009)
In South Carolina, the implied consent laws apply. Therefore, a person who drives a motor vehicle in the State is considered to have given consent to chemical tests of his breath, blood, or urine for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol or drugs or the combination of alcohol and drugs if arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was driving the motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2950(A) (West 2009)
- Further, the DMV in South Carolina MUST suspend the driver’s license, permit, or nonresident operating privilege of or deny the issuance of a license or permit to a person who drives a motor vehicle and refuses to submit to a blood test. S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2951(A) (West 2009)
- The accused has the right to have a qualified person of his own choosing conduct additional independent tests at his expense. The failure or inability of the person tested to obtain additional tests does not preclude the admission of evidence relating to the tests or samples obtained at the direction of the law enforcement officer. Id. §§ 56-5-2950(B)(3),(D).
- First offense - fine of $400 or imprisonment for a period of not less than 48 hours, nor more than 30 days; Or minimum of 48 hours of public service; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. § 56-5-2930(A)(1).
- Second offense - fine of not less than $2,100, but not more than $5,100 and imprisonment for a period of not less than 5 days, but not more than 1 year; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. § 56-5-2930(A)(2).
- Third offense fine of not less than $3,800, nor more than $6,300, imprisonment for a period not less than 60 days nor more than 3 years; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. § 56-5-2930(A)(3).
- Fourth and subsequent offense – imprisonment for not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. § 56-5-2930(A)(4).
So, if you or a loved one has been arrested, and your arrest falls under the purview of any of these laws and penalties, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for a confidential consultation.