If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in SC, there is a good chance your license has been suspended for an implied consent violation or a BAC violation (Blood Alcohol Violation). And, if you are convicted of DUI, your license could be suspended again.
The FIRST THING we do for our DUI clients is to determine 1) whether your license is suspended and 2) how to get you back on the road so you can drive to work and get where you need to go.
In this article, we will look at the basics of DUI license suspensions in SC, including:
- Implied consent suspensions (Refusal to Blow) and how to fight them,
- Suspensions after a DUI conviction, and
- Types of provisional DUI licenses that are available in SC.
Losing Your License to a DUI
A charge for driving under the influence actually has two parts – an administrative side and a criminal side. On the administrative side, you can lose your license for an “Implied Consent Violation.” On the criminal side you can lose your license for a DUI conviction.
Losing your driver’s license may create significant hardship in your life, but there are certain special DUI licenses that may help you to get back on the road.
License Suspensions for Driving Under the Influence
DUI Implied Consent Suspensions
There are three ways your driver’s license can be suspended after a DUI arrest – 1) an implied consent suspension, 2) a BAC violation for registering a breath alcohol concentration of .15 or greater, or 3) a license suspension based on a DUI conviction.
SC Code § 56-5-2950 says that, if you drive a motor vehicle in this state, it is “implied” that you have consented to give police a breath, urine, or blood sample to use against you in a DUI prosecution. However, it is your right to refuse to provide a sample in most situations unless there are certain exigent circumstances, injuries to others, or police have a search warrant signed by a judge ordering a sample of your blood or urine.
If you refuse to provide a breath, urine, or blood sample, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended under SC’s implied consent laws for six (6) months on a first offense. If you take the breathalyzer and the breath alcohol reading is .15 or greater, your license will still be suspended for thirty days (first offense). In either case, you must immediately request an administrative/ implied consent hearing on your original Notice of Implied Consent Rights form to get your license reinstated.
If the DMV does not receive the hearing request within 30 days, or if you lose the hearing, you will need to serve out the suspension, enroll in ADSAP, and you may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) before you can drive again.
The table below shows how long your license will be suspended for an implied consent suspension based on the number of prior DUI convictions and whether the implied consent violation was a refusal or a result of .15 or greater:
|Prior DUI Convictions*||BAC OF 0.15% Or Greater||Breathalyzer Refusal|
|0||1 month||6 months|
|1||2 months||9 months|
|2||3 months||12 months|
|3||4 months||15 months|
*Prior DUI convictions within the last 10 years.
License Suspensions for a DUI Conviction
If you are convicted of driving under the influence, your license will be suspended, and, if you already have an implied consent suspension, your license may be suspended again – the implied consent proceedings are separate from your DUI case in criminal court, and each can result in a license suspension.
SC Code § 56-5-2990 determines how long you will lose your license if you are convicted of DUI or DUAC (driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration) in SC, and, in some cases, you must install an ignition interlock device (IID) before you can drive again.
The table below shows the length of license suspensions for a DUI conviction based on the number of prior DUI convictions, the person’s BAC, and whether an ignition interlock device is required:
|Charge ||BAC ||Mandatory IID||License Suspension|
|1st Offense DUI or DUAC||< .10||None||6 months|
|1st Offense||.10-.15||None||6 months|
|1st Offense||>.15%||6 months ||Ignition Interlock Device Program|
|2nd Offense||<.10%||2 years||Ignition Interlock Device Program|
|2nd Offense||.10-.15%||2 years||Ignition Interlock Device Program|
|2nd Offense||>.15%||2 years||Ignition Interlock Device Program|
|3rd Offense||<.10%||3 years||Ignition Interlock Device Program|
|3rd Offense||.10-.15%||3 years||Ignition Interlock Device Program|
|3rd Offense||>.15%||3 years (4 if there is a previous conviction within the past five years)||Ignition Interlock Device Program|
|4th or Subsequent Offense||<.10%||Life||Ignition Interlock Device Program|
|4th or Subsequent Offense||.10-.15%||Life||Ignition Interlock Device Program|
|4th or Subsequent Offense||>.15%||Life||Ignition Interlock Device Program|
Types of Provisional DUI Licenses in SC
If you have an implied consent suspension or if you have been convicted of DUI, all is not lost – you may be eligible for a temporary, route restricted, or provisional license that will allow you to get where you need to be until the suspension is over.
Temporary Alcohol License
If your license has been suspended for a refusal to take the breath test or a breath test result of .15 or greater, you must immediately file an implied consent hearing request if you want to challenge the suspension.
Once you have filed the administrative hearing request with the DMV, you can get a Temporary Alcohol License (TAL) that allows you to drive – with no restrictions as to time or route – until the hearing.
If your implied consent suspension is upheld at the administrative hearing, you will need to serve out the suspension and enroll in ADSAP, but you may still be eligible for a route restricted license that will allow you to drive until the suspension period is up.
Provisional Driver’s License
If you have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC), if it is your first offense, and if your BAC was .14 or less, you should be eligible for a provisional driver’s license that allows you to drive for up to six months.
The requirements for a provisional license include:
- You must have or have had a valid driver’s license,
- You must meet pay all reinstatement fees for any prior suspensions or revocations,
- The conviction was your first DUI offense,
- Your BAC from the DUI case must have been .14 or lower,
- There is a $100 provisional license fee, and
- You must enroll in ADSAP.
Route Restricted License
What if you don’t qualify for a TAL or a provisional license?
If you did not request an implied consent hearing, lost your implied consent hearing, were convicted of DUI with a breathalyzer result greater than .14, or were convicted of DUI 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or subsequent offense, you may be eligible for a route restricted driver’s license.
You can only get a route restricted license once in your lifetime, so you should first get the TAL or provisional license whenever possible.
You can get a route restricted license in SC if your license has been suspended for:
- An accident judgment,
- An alcohol violation (including a DUI conviction),
- An implied consent violation of .15 or greater,
- Failure to stop for a blue light,
- False insurance certifications,
- Misrepresentation of identity, or
- Accumulation of 12 or more driving points.
Where does a route restricted license allow you to drive? For the length of your license suspension, you can drive:
- A non-commercial vehicle,
- To and from work,
- To and from school,
- To and from ADSAP, or
- To and from any court-ordered substance abuse treatment programs.
Questions About DUI License Suspensions in SC?
If you have been charged with DUI in Charleston, SC, you are in danger of losing your driver’s license. Get an experienced DUI defense lawyer on your side immediately who can answer your questions, begin preparing your defense, and help you to get back on the road as soon as possible.
Call Kulp & Elliott now at 843-761-3840 or send us an email through our website to set up a free consultation to find out how we can help.