South Carolina DUI Laws, Penalties, and License Suspensions

The Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highway in Title 56 of the South Carolina Code of Laws provides the penalties and driver’s license suspensions associated with a DUI charge in South Carolina that results in a conviction.  A separate set of administrative penalties and drivers license suspensions are associated with refusing to submit a breath alcohol sample that apply in addition to and consecutive to penalties stemming from a DUI conviction in criminal court.  Many people do not realize that even if you are found NOT GUILTY for DUI you could still incur a license suspension for an implied consent violation (refusing to provide a breath or blood sample), or having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .16 or more.

In other words, the DUI criminal process may have separate administrative aspects that are not controlled by the outcome of the DUI criminal case.

Notes Pertaining to the Chart Below

SR-22 Insurance Requirement – In all instances, this assigned risk insurance must be maintained for three years.

Fines – all fines listed below are virtually doubled by the requirement of the addition of court costs.

Subsequent Offenses – a subsequent DUI offense can be charged and prosecuted if, at the time of that subsequent arrest for DUI, the person has been convicted of DUI or DUAC, in any state, within ten years.

DUI 1st – A DUI 1st conviction carries a fine or jail time, a requirement to complete ADSAP, 6 months driver’s license suspension, and a requirement to carry SR-22 Insurance after the suspension period. The penalties are enhanced with higher BAC readings. The $400.00 fine may not be suspended below that amount. The $500.00 fine may only be suspended to $400.00. The $1.000.00 may only be suspended down to $500.00. The sentencing judge, at their discretion, can allow a jail sentence for a first offense to be satisfied by community service.

Any jail sentence for a 1st conviction may be served intermittently while the Defendant is not at work (Nights & Weekends).

DUI 1st Refusal up to BAC of .09 BAC .10-.15 BAC .16 and above
$400 Fine $500 Fine $1000 Fine
Or 48 hrs to 30 Days in Jail* 72 Hrs. to 30 days in Jail* 30-90 Days in Jail*
6 Mo. DL Suspension 6 Mo. DL Suspension 6 Mo. DL Suspension
ADSAP and SR-22 Requirement ADSAP and SR-22 Requirement ADSAP and SR-22 Requirement

* For 1st convictions, a Judge has the option to sentence to community service (equivalent hours) in lieu of jail time. Any jail sentence for a first conviction may be served during times when the Defendant is not at work.

DUI 2nd – A DUI 2nd conviction carries a fine and jail time, a requirement to complete ADSAP, one year driver’s license suspension, and a requirement to carry SR-22 Insurance after the suspension period.  The penalties are enhanced with higher BAC readings. The $2.100 fine may be suspended by the judge to $1,100 at any BAC level. If any period of jail imposed is suspended by the judge down to the minimum mandatory level for that BAC reading, probation may be imposed up to five years. Violation of probation can result in imposition of part or all of the suspended sentence. A judge is empowered to allow minimum sentences to be served on weekends or at nighttime. Public service in lieu of jail is not an option available.

DUI 2nd Refusal up to BAC of .09 BAC .10-.15 BAC .16 and above
$2100-$4100 Fine $2500-$5500 Fine $3500-$6500 Fine
5 Days up to 1 Year in Jail 30 Days up to 2 Years in Jail 90 Days up to 3 years in jail
1 year DL Suspension 1 year. DL Suspension 1 year. DL Suspension
ADSAP and SR-22 Requirement ADSAP and SR-22 Requirement ADSAP and SR-22 Requirement

DUI 3rd – A DUI 3rd conviction carries a fine and jail time, a requirement to complete ADSAP, and a 2 year driver’s license suspension if the 3rd DUI conviction was within a 10 years span or a 4 year DL suspension if the convictions were within a 5 years span. There is also a requirement to carry SR-22 Insurance after the suspension period.  The fines and jail time are enhanced with higher BAC readings.

DUI 3nd Refusal up to BAC of .09 BAC .10-.15 BAC .16 and above
$3800-$6300 Fine $5000-$7500 Fine $7500-$10,000 Fine
60 Days up to 3 Years in Jail 90 Days up to 4 Years in Jail 120 Days up to 5 years
2-4 year DL Suspension 2-4 year. DL Suspension 12-4 year. DL Suspension
ADSAP and SR-22 Requirement ADSAP and SR-22 Requirement ADSAP and SR-22 Requirement

DUI 4th – A DUI 4th conviction carries jail time, a requirement to complete ADSAP, and permanent license suspension.  The fines and jail time are enhanced with higher BAC readings.

DUI 4th Refusal up to BAC of .09 BAC .10-.15 BAC .16 and above
1-5 Years in Jail 2-6 Years in Jail 3-7 years in Jail
2-4 year DL Suspension 2-4 year. DL Suspension 2-4 year. DL Suspension

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“ Upon first meeting with Mr. Kulp he was extremely down to earth, and spoke to me in general facts regarding my case to expect a suitable and swift outcome. Everything Mr. Kulp was able to do with DUI case was extraordinary and more than professional. My case was eventually dismissed and no DUI conviction. The work Mr. Kulp did for me saved me a ton financially, but also left with me the satisfaction no stone would be left unturned for a reasonable outcome in my case. I couldn’t be happier with the time and effort Mr. Kulp put into my case and would recommend him to anyone needing representation he can help in! “
- Drew, a DUI

* The Rules of Professional Conduct require disclosure that this is a “Testimonial” about the attorney. Please be aware that any result achieved on behalf of one client in one matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients.

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