What Is a Felony DUI in South Carolina?

Aggravating factors that can make a drunk driving charge a felony.

South Carolina's DUI laws prohibit operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or more or while under the influence of drugs (including prescription drugs) or alcohol. In most situations, a DUI conviction will be a misdemeanor. But, if a case involves certain aggravating factors, a DUI can be charged as a felony.

Here are some of the circumstances that can result in felony DUI charges in South Carolina.

Fourth or Subsequent DUI Conviction Is a Felony

For a first, second, or third DUI, the driver will typically be facing misdemeanor charges. But if a driver has three or more prior DUI convictions within the past ten years, the current offense (third or subsequent) will be a felony.

The penalties for a fourth or subsequent DUI conviction generally depend on the driver's BAC. The driver will face one to five years in prison for a BAC of less than .10%, two to six years for a BAC of at least .10% to .15%, and three to seven years for a BAC of more than .15%.

Felony Charges for DUIs Involving Injuries and Deaths

DUIs involving great bodily injuries or deaths are felonies. Causing great bodily injury to another person while driving under the influence carries $5,100 to $10,000 and 30 days to 15 years in prison. DUI offenses where there was a fatality carry $10,100 to $25,100 and one to 25 years in prison.

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