South Carolina First-Offense DUI

The fines, jail, and license penalties resulting from a first-offense DUI in South Carolina.

South Carolina defines DUI (driving under the influence) as driving:

A driver is considered “under the influence” of a substance if the driver’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially impaired.

Anyone convicted of a first DUI in South Carolina is generally facing a fine, driver’s license suspension, and community service. A DUI is a first offense in South Carolina if the driver has no prior DUI convictions that occurred within the past ten years.

This article gives an overview of the minimum and maximum penalties and consequences for a first DUI in South Carolina.

Criminal Penalties

For a first-offense DUI, the offender typically must be sentenced within the following parameters.

Jail time. A first-offense DUI generally carries 48 hours to 30 days in jail. But if the driver had BAC of at least .10% but less than .16% (find out how BAC corresponds to the number of drinks), the minimum jail time is increased to seven days. And if the offender had a BAC of .16% or greater, the jail time is 30 to 90 days.

Often, a judge will allow an equal amount of community service instead of jail time. So, for a first offense, a person can often serve 48 hours of community service instead of 48 hours of jail.

Fines. A person who’s convicted of a first DUI must pay a fine of $400. Drivers with a BAC of at least .10% but less than .16% will pay a $500 fine, while drivers with a BAC of .16% or greater will pay a $1,000 fine. (Find out about some of the other costs of a first DUI.)

Treatment. All persons convicted of a DUI must complete the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP). This requirement consists of the convicted person completing an alcohol and drug evaluation and then following the recommended treatment.

Driver’s License Suspension

In addition to the penalties listed above, the judge will suspend the first offender’s license for six months. Drivers enrolled in the ADSAP program can obtain a provisional license which permits them to drive during the suspension period.

BAC of .15% or more. Drivers with a BAC of .15% or more will also receive an additional one-month suspension at the time of arrest. These drivers are not eligible to receive a provisional license but can get an ignition interlock restricted license after conviction. This license allows the convicted person to drive only with the use of an ignition interlock device (IID).

Drivers who refused chemical testing will also be eligible for the IID license but not the provisional license.

Talk to an Attorney

If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence in South Carolina, it’s a good idea to talk to a DUI lawyer. DUI law is complicated and the facts of each case are different. A qualified DUI attorney can tell you how the law applies to your case and help you decide on the best course of action.

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