DUI Penalties in South Carolina – What You Need to Know

As DUI lawyers in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, we want our clients to know the DUI penalties in South Carolina. This article explains everything you need to know about the criminal penalties for a South Carolina DUI, suspension of your driver’s license, and penalties if you refuse to submit to a breath test.

The penalties depend on which offense number this is, whether you gave a breath sample, and what it was. Depending on these factors, there are at least 10 combinations of criminal penalties.

Further, there may be a driver’s license and suspension depending on whether you submitted a breath sample and what it was. This article is focused only on the consequences of a conviction of DUI or DUAC for SC drivers. If you want to read about the initial suspension and the implied consent hearing, click here.

If you are an out-of-state driver, you will face the consequences described in this article and whatever consequences your home state imposes.

Criminal & Administrative DUI Penalties in South Carolina

We will first explain the most basic and common DUI charge we receive, DUI 1st Refusal, and then go on to explain how multiple offenses or higher blood alcohol contents (BACs) increase the penalties and suspensions. If you are curious to read South Carolina’s DUI statutes regarding criminal penalties, they can be found in Section 56-5-2930.

Driving With an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC)

Some drivers who blew a 0.08% BAC or higher could be charged with DUAC instead of DUI. While these charges have different things that need to be proven by the prosecution, the penalties are identical. So, for each list below, you can substitute DUAC for DUI and have the same result.

Now, here are the different levels of DUI/DUAC and the DUI penalties in South Carolina:

DUI 1st Offense – Refused to Give Breath Sample – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • Up to 30 days in jail or a fine up to $1,067 (or community service of 48 or more hours)
  • 6 months of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

You will notice that every type of DUI conviction, regardless of offense number or sample, will require the offender to obtain SR-22 insurance for 3 years and to complete the ADSAP program.

DUI 1st Offense – Breath Sample Less Than 0.10% – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • Up to 30 days in jail or a fine up to $1,092 (or community service of 48 or more hours)
  • 6 months of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

DUI 1st Offense – Breath Sample 0.10% – 0.15% – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • Up to 30 days in jail or a fine up to $1,299 (or community service of 72 or more hours)
  • 6 months of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

DUI 1st Offense – Breath Sample 0.16% or higher – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • At least 30 but up to 90 days in jail or a fine up to $2,125 (or community service of 30 days)
  • 6 months of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

DUI 2nd Offense – Refusal or Breath Sample Less Than 0.10% – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • At least 5 days but up to one (1) year in jail and a fine of $2,100 – $5,100
  • 2 years of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

DUI 2nd Offense – Breath Sample 0.10% – 0.15% – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • At least 30 days but up to two (2) years in jail and a fine of $2,500 – $5,500
  • 2 years of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

DUI 2nd Offense – Breath Sample 0.16% or higher – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • At least 90 days but up to three (3) years in jail and a fine up of $3,500 – $6,500
  • 2 years of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

DUI 3rd Offense – Refusal or Breath Sample Less Than 0.10% – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • At least 60 days but up to three (3) years in jail and a fine of $3,800 – $6,300
  • 3 years of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions (or 4 years if three offenses were within 5 years of each other)
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

DUI 3rd Offense – Breath Sample 0.10% – 0.15% – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • At least 90 days but up to four (4) years in jail and a fine of $5,000 – $7,500
  • 3 years of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions (or 4 years if three offenses were within 5 years of each other)
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

DUI 3rd Offense – Breath Sample 0.16% or higher – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • At least 6 months but up to five (5) years in jail and a fine of $7,500 – $10,000
  • 3 years of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions (or 4 years if three offenses were within 5 years of each other)
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

DUI 4th Offense or Greater – Refusal or Breath Sample Less Than 0.10% – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • At least one (1) year but up to five (5) years in jail
  • At least five (5) years but up to a lifetime of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

DUI 4th Offense or Greater – Breath Sample 0.10% – 0.15% – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • At least two (2) years but up to six (6) years in jail
  • At least five (5) years but up to a lifetime of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

DUI 4th Offense or Greater – Breath Sample 0.16% or higher – If convicted, the DUI penalties in South Carolina are:

  • At least three (3) years but up to seven (7) years in jail
  • At least five (5) years but up to a lifetime of Ignition Interlock Device (IID) restrictions
  • 3 years of SR-22 Insurance
  • Completion of Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Never expungable from criminal record

If you are charged with DUI or DUAC in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, or the surrounding areas, contact our firm and schedule a free consultation.

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