Frequently Asked Questions About DUI in South Carolina

As DUI lawyers in Charleston, South Carolina, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions that we get from our clients about DUI in South Carolina.

Is a DUI a felony in South Carolina?

No, a DUI 1st offense is not a felony. However, if the DUI causes serious bodily injury or death, it can, and likely will, be charged as a felony. For more information, read our article about Felony DUI in South Carolina.

How long does a DUI stay on my driving record in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, the two types of driving records that are commonly accessed are the 3-year record and the 10-year record. A DUI will always show up on these records. If it is older than 10 years, then it might not be discovered from a driving record, but it will never be removed from your criminal record, and under current expungement laws in South Carolina, a DUI is not expugnable at any point in the future.

Can you get PTI for DUI in South Carolina?

No. DUI’s and other driving offenses under Title 56 of our Code of Laws are excluded from PTI eligibility.

Can you lose your license for DUI 1st in South Carolina? 

Technically, you are suspended for 6 months for a DUI 1st offense. However, if you didn’t refuse the breathalyzer and didn’t blow a 0.15% or higher on the breath machine, you can likely get a “provisional license,” which has no restrictions in South Carolina, and you can drive on this license during the 6-month suspension period. In other words, you won’t feel the effect of the suspension except at the very beginning while the DMV and ADSAP process their paperwork. Even if you don’t qualify for the provisional license, you can still end the suspension by enrolling in the Ignition Interlock Device Program and installing the device in your car during the 6-month period.

How many points is a DUI in South Carolina?

A DUI does not carry any points. It has its own set of rules that govern whether you get suspended, so points don’t matter with DUI.

Is there a statute of limitations for DUI in South Carolina?

Technically, the answer is no. However, it is very difficult, if not impossible, for law enforcement to successfully prosecute for a DUI if you are not either caught either in the act or within a few hours of your driving. We have seen situations where a person drives away from an accident thinking they can sober up before they are caught. Unfortunately for these people, they can still be charged with leaving the scene of an accident, which can still carry stiff jail sentences if someone was seriously injured or killed.

How long does a DUI case take in South Carolina?

It depends on the court. The first court date usually comes within a month or two of the arrest. If the DUI is contested, some courts take care of them within a few months, while some can go well over a year.

What are the penalties for DUAC in South Carolina?

They are identical to DUI penalties in South Carolina. For more information, read our article about the penalties for a DUI in South Carolina.

Can a DUI be expunged from my record in South Carolina?

Under current expungement laws in South Carolina, a DUI cannot be expunged at any point in the future.

How long does ADSAP last in South Carolina?

ADSAP (South Carolina Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program) initially schedules you for an assessment. At the assessment, they determine how long you will be in the program. The most common plan we see requires the following: an enrollment, an assessment, and then one class a week for eight weeks. Sometimes, a person may be required to go for 12 or more weeks. We have seen instances where a person goes on both Saturdays and Sundays, so they go twice a week but cut the total time in half. We cannot give any firm answers to this question because it is completely in ADSAP’s hands.

Does a DUI show up on a background check (or DUAC) in South Carolina?

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) maintains criminal backgrounds. If you are arrested and fingerprinted, then the charge will likely show up on your SLED record. In some instances, if your DUI is rewritten to a DUAC, then there are no fingerprints that are associated with the DUAC ticket, and SLED won’t report it. However, more and more courts are implementing additional paperwork that does away with this loophole so that the DUAC still shows up on the SLED record.

How much does SR-22 insurance cost?

This number is not created by the courts. It’s created by the insurance companies, and their quotes are based on a series of factors and not just the fact that someone is convicted of DUI or DUAC. So, we can’t quote the insurance companies. What we generally tell clients is to be prepared for your insurance rates to triple, and if the premium is any lower, they should consider it a bonus.

Can you get a provisional license for a DUI in South Carolina?

If you submitted a breath sample of less than 0.15% and it is your first offense for DUI within the last 10 years, then you likely qualify for a provisional license. If you are convicted of a DUI with a refusal, a DUI with a breath sample of 0.15% or higher, or a DUI 2nd offense or greater, then you will not qualify for a provisional license. Except in extreme cases, even without a provisional license, you can likely keep driving if you install an Ignition Interlock Device in your car or truck.

Can I still get a DUI if I refused the breathalyzer test in South Carolina?

Yes. While blood-alcohol concentration is one piece of evidence that can be used to convict you, even if you don’t have to give a breath sample, police can still submit other forms of evidence. Some examples are testimony of odor of alcohol or slurred speech, descriptions or video of failed field sobriety tests, and admissions to drinking by the defendant.

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