First Offense DUI in South Carolina

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South Carolina is working hard to reduce DUIs --  the fatality rate from alcohol-related accidents has dropped 40% in the past decade. Below we list the penalties for a first offense and the associated administrative penalties assessed by the state licensing bureau. Note that aggravating factors such as having a child in the car or having a BAC over .15, may affect penalties.

Administrative Penalties

  • First offense DUI carries mandatory administrative license suspension of six (6) months, unless otherwise successfully contested in an administrative hearing
  • First offense refusals to submit under implied consent laws carry a comparable mandatory license suspension of six (6) months
  • Reinstatement of license contingent upon completion of alcohol/substance abuse assessment and counseling in limited circumstances. Also, first offense convictions carry possibility of required installation of ignition interlock device upon reinstatement of driving privileges

How Much Will it Cost?

To get an idea of how much a first offense DUI will cost you, see our article on the cost of a DUI.

Criminal Penalties

  • First offense DUI penalties are applied based on BAC of offender at time of arrest. If BAC .08% to .10%, offender faces mandatory incarceration of two (2) days up to maximum of thirty (30) days. If BAC above .10% to less than .16%, offender faces mandatory incarceration of at least three (3) days with maximum of thirty (30) days. If BAC above .16%, offender faces incarceration of at least thirty (30) days, but not more than ninety (90) days
  • In all cases, incarceration may be avoided via public service employment for first time offenders
  • Fines range from $400 to $1,000 depending on BAC, and in turn, fines do not include costs incurred during completion of terms of sentence, process of license reinstatement, or additional fees and surcharges assessed
  • Conviction of first offense DUI in South Carolina will influence subsequent arrests and convictions for DUI for a period of ten (10) years

Getting Legal Help

State statutes in South Carolina bar reducing DUI charges into lesser criminal offenses, however, offenders will may have an opportunity for pleading down sentencing or working towards dismissal of all charges. For more information and insight, consult with a South Carolina DUI lawyer.

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