South Carolina DUI Laws and Penalties
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal in all 50 states. Laws and penalties vary from state to state. Some states may refer to a drunken driving related offense as DUI (Driving Under the Influence), DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) OVI (Operating Vehicle Impaired), or OWI (Operating While Intoxicated) but these all refer to the same offense.
In South Carolina, when an individual suspected of operating a motor vehicle while impaired, the driver may initially be requested to complete a field sobriety test (FST). This is a quick exercise for the driver which is used to determine whether or not they are intoxicated. The police officer may ask the individual to follow a pen with their eyes, recite the alphabet, stand on one leg for a period of time, or walk in a straight line heal to toe. These tasks are difficult to perform for an individual under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If the officer suspects a person is intoxicated after performing a field sobriety tests he may place that person under arrest and request that they submit to a Breathalyzer test at a remote location and or to a medical facility for a blood or urine test to determine the percentage of drugs and or alcohol in their blood stream. All that is required in South Carolina, for a person to be charged with a drunk driving related offense is a determination by the arresting officer that the driver was impaired by drugs or alcohol to the extent that their ability to drive was materially and appreciably impaired. The majority of states, including South Carolina, have now passed laws which provide for the suspension of driving privileges of drivers who either refuse to take a breath test or when the results of the breath test are above a specific level. In South Carolina, this law is referred to as Implied Consent Requirement. This suspension is appealable but must be requested within 30 days of the date of the imposition of the Implied Consent suspension.
The consequences of drunken driving offenses differ drastically from state to state and are influenced by the driver’s age, BAC, previous DUI convictions, and whether injury or death occurred during the incident.
Hiring an Experienced DUI Lawyer Matters
The penalties of DUI offenses vary from state to state. Always remember, an arrest is not a conviction! An experienced DUI lawyer in South Carolina will be able to evaluate the evidence in your case, explain the legal impact and implications of such things as (1) harsher punishments for those arrested with higher BAC limits, (2) special laws for underage drivers arrested for DUI, (3) possible community service or plea bargaining, (4) overlapping jurisdiction of Courts and your state's motor vehicle licensing department to suspend or revoke your license (5) contingent license programs that allow you to use your vehicle to get to and from work.
A DUI lawyer can manage the criminal process completing the required forms; making phone calls; scheduling and/or representing an individual at a Motor Vehicle Department suspension hearing, and making other necessary arrangements.
Only an experienced DUI lawyer will be able to explain the intricacies of DUI laws in South Carolina to determine the best resolution to each individual case. And they may be able successfully defend your case or to obtain a lesser sentence for you if your situation and state law allows for it.
You Need a DUI Lawyer If:
- You've been arrested for DUI in South Carolina.
- Your DUI arrest was the result of an accident or if an injury or death occurred do to your drunk driving incident.
- You are a professional driver whose livelihood depends on keeping your license.
- You don't understand your rights or DUI laws, what you need to do, or the consequences you face.
- You are in a profession (or plan to be) that requires bonding or in which any criminal conviction might prevent you from getting or keeping a professional license.