Third-Offense DUI in South Carolina

The penalties—including license suspension, fines, and possible jail time—for a third DUI conviction in South Carolina.

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

An impaired driver who has two prior DUI convictions within the last ten years will be charged with a third-offense DUI. This article gives an overview of the minimum and maximum penalties and consequences for a third DUI conviction in South Carolina.

Criminal Penalties

The penalties for a third-offense DUI are determined by the judge but within the parameters established by statute. These penalties can increase based on the level of impairment and other aggravating factors.

Jail time. A third-offense DUI generally carries 60 days to three years in jail. But if the driver had a BAC of at least .10% but less than .16%, the jail time can be 90 days to four years. And if the offender had a BAC of .16% or greater, the jail time will be six months to five years. The minimum jail time can't be reduced or suspended by the judge.

Fines. The fines for a third-offense DUI similarly increase with the driver's BAC. The standard fine is $3,800 to $6,300, but drivers with a BAC of at least .10% but less than .16% will pay a $5,000 to $7,500 fine. Drivers with a BAC of .16% or greater will pay a $7,500 to $10,000 fine.

Treatment. All persons convicted of a South Carolina DUI must complete the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP). The program begins with an alcohol and drug evaluation. The results of that evaluation will determine whether the treatment plan should include educational classes, random testing, and/or inpatient treatment. Failure to complete the program can result in probation revocation and license suspension.

Driver's License Suspension

All DUI convictions are recorded with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV will suspend the driver's license, but the driver is immediately eligible to enroll in the Ignition Interlock Device Program (IIDP). For a third offense in ten years, the driver must complete three years of IIDP (and the ADSAP) before license reinstatement. For a third offense in five years, the driver must complete four years of IIDP.

Refusal and high BAC. Drivers with a BAC of .15% or more or who refused testing will receive an immediate notice of suspension at the time of arrest. The driver has thirty days to request a hearing and temporary license. If the driver doesn't request a hearing, he or she can apply for an ignition interlock restricted license. The suspension duration is 12 months for a refusal and three months for a BAC of .15% or more.

Vehicles. For a third offense, all vehicles owned by the convicted driver must be immobilized or fitted with an IID. The court can order the license plates and registration to be surrendered.

Talk to an Attorney

Failure to promptly request a hearing or a temporary license can result in the loss of driving privileges or appeal rights. Meet with a seasoned attorney to discuss your options.

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