It is against the law to drive any motorized vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs where you are “materially and appreciably impaired.” You do not have to be “legally drunk” to be arrested and convicted of DUI. If you “blow” above the “legal limit,” you will be subject to a separate, more enhanced charge of DUAC. And, you can be arrested for “any motorized vehicle” which can include cars, trucks, motorcycles, mopeds, even lawnmowers. Finally, “drunk driving” includes being impaired from alcohol (beer, wine, liquor, straight alcohol) and drugs (prescription or illegal) or a combination of both. Really, any intoxicating substance can cause you to be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or while impaired (DWI). What do we do as DUI lawyers? Click here for a video explaining our DUI defense strategy.
Driving with Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC)
SC law provides you are “legally drunk” if you have a “blood alcohol concentration (BAC)” of 0.08% or greater. This finding is sometimes referred to as a “per se DUI.” This level can be determined by a breathalyzer test, or if you cannot complete that test, by blood or urine tests. Again, your consent is “implied” if you drive in SC, even if you are from somewhere else. Simply getting behind the wheel is enough. Read
the SC DUAC Law.
If you drive in South Carolina, the law says you have already given your consent to chemical tests of your breath, blood, or urine to determine the presence of alcohol and/or drugs if arrested for DUI. If you refuse, your license is automatically suspended for 6 months. Once arrested, you generally have 30 days to request a hearing to contest your license suspension. If you request this hearing timely, you will retain your driving privileges while waiting for a hearing date. If not, your suspension takes effect immediately.
For a first offense DUI, your license will be suspended for 6 months, subject to getting a provisional, temporary license. In addition, you are subject to a $400.00 fine, up to 48 hours in jail or community service (BAC <.10%); $500.00 fine, up to 72 hours (BAC <.16%); or $1000.00 fine, up to 30 days (BAC >.16%). And, you will be required to obtain SR-22 insurance for 3 years, even if you do not own a vehicle. To qualify for a provisional license, you will also have to enroll in Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP) and pay a $100.00 license reinstatement fee. Subsequent DUI convictions result in even more serious penalties and fees.
One of the prosecution’s key pieces of evidence in a DUI case is the results of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) breath test, if the DUI defendant chose to take it. If the DUI defendant chose not to blow, that fact they did not blow can be used as evidence against him or her, and serves as a basis for the implied consent offense above. Luckily for those charged with DUI, the breathalyzer is not the fool-proof test it is made out to be by the prosecution, police, and anti-alcohol groups. See our SC DUI attorney Tyler Burns’ take on the breathalyzer test and the science behind it in this video.
If you’ve been charged with DUI in Rock Hill, SC, Fort Mill, SC, Columbia, SC, Charleston, SC, or anywhere else in South Carolina please contact one of our lawyers directly at 803-548-4444 or at 877-374-5999, and let us start building your DUI defense.
We help those charged with DUI throughout South Carolina including those charged with DUI in the following counties:
- York County
- Lancaster County
- Richland County
- Lexington County
- Chester County
- Cherokee County
- Union County
- Chesterfield County
- Fairfield County