How do South Carolina’s DUI laws compare to other states?

Nearly 30 people die in drunk-driving crashes every day in the United States, according to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The agency reported 10,874 drunk driving deaths in 2017.

Consumer website WalletHub ranks South Carolina in the middle of the pack when it comes to strictest laws for driving under the influence (DUI). The survey puts the Palmetto State in a tie with Minnesota for 27th in taking an aggressive stance against drunk driving.

What happens if Im pulled over for DUI?

An officer must have probable cause to stop you, meaning you were speeding, weaving in and out of traffic or there was a malfunction with your vehicle such as a missing tail light. Once stopped, the officer will likely ask you to take field tests to try to determine whether your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is above the legal limit of 0.08%.

You have the right to refuse to take a Breathalyzer and other tests, but under South Carolina’s implied consent law, you can face immediate consequences including a six-month suspension of your driver’s license.

Penalties for a first-time offense

Anyone convicted of a DUI in South Carolina faces:

  • 30 to 90 days in jail
  • Fine of up to $1,000
  • Suspended license for six months
  • Ignition interlock mandatory if BAC measures above 0.15%

Know your rights if charged with DUI

In addition to fines and jail time, a DUI conviction can be extremely costly as insurance rates can double or triple, and some insurance companies will drop drivers making it difficult and expensive to find new coverage. If charged, seek legal help here in South Carolina from an experienced criminal defense attorney who will protect your rights. Your attorney will ask many questions, such as:

  • Were you stopped for a legitimate reason?
  • Were field tests correctly administered?
  • Were you able to speak with a lawyer?

A successful outcome can include charges being dropped or reduced and increase the chances of keeping your license as well as avoiding significant fines and related costs.