South Carolina's Drugged Driving Law

Learn about the laws and penalties for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) in South Carolina.

South Carolina’s drugged driving law is at Code of South Carolina Section 56-5-293 which states that “It is unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle within this State while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired, under the influence of any other drug or a combination of other drugs or substances which cause impairment to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired, or under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drug or drugs or substances which cause impairment to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired."

In other words, in South Carolina it’s a crime to drive while impaired by a drug. No blood testing standard is established in South Carolina – that is, there is no fixed amount of drugs within the blood system that determines conviction. Whether a driver is impaired is determined on a case-by-case basis and at the discretion of the prosecutor.

What drugs are prohibited?

South Carolina’s drugged driving law is directed at the prohibition of any substance or drug that can cause impairment. (A listing of controlled substances regulated by federal law are found at the Drug Enforcement Administration website.) It’s not an acceptable defense to a drugged driving charge to claim that the driver is legally entitled to use the controlled substance.

What happens if a driver is convicted of drug impaired driving in South Carolina?

A driver arrested for drugged driving in South Carolina will be charged with driving under the influence and subject to DUI penalties. A conviction for drugged driving will be considered as a prior offense for purposes of calculating punishment regardless of whether a subsequent offense is due to alcohol or drugs. Read more about South Carolina’s DUI laws.

Do South Carolina drivers have to submit to drug testing?

Yes, there is an implied consent rule for blood and urine testing although blood testing can only be required in a limited set of circumstances. The refusal to take the test can be admitted into evidence against the driver.

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