Drunk Driving/DUI Defense Law Firm in Charleston SC
Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits:
In South Carolina, the legal BAC limit for most drivers is 0.08%. For commercial drivers operating commercial vehicles, the BAC limit is lower, at 0.04%. Additionally, there is “zero tolerance” for drivers under the age of 21, meaning any measurable BAC above 0.00% can result in DUI charges for underage drivers.
The penalties for DUI in South Carolina vary depending on factors such as the offender’s BAC, prior DUI convictions, and the presence of aggravating circumstances. Generally, DUI penalties include:
a. First Offense: For a first-time DUI offense, penalties may include fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education or treatment programs, and possible imprisonment up to 30 days.
b. Second Offense: A second DUI offense within ten years of the first offense carries increased penalties, including longer license suspension, higher fines, and a minimum of five days to three years in jail.
c. Third and Subsequent Offenses: Subsequent DUI convictions within ten years of the previous offense lead to even harsher penalties, including longer prison sentences and more extended license suspensions.
d. Felony DUI: Under certain circumstances, such as causing great bodily injury or death while driving under the influence, DUI can be charged as a felony, resulting in more severe consequences, including significant prison time.
Implied Consent Law:South Carolina has an implied consent law, which means that by operating a motor vehicle on the state’s roads, drivers are deemed to have implicitly consented to submit to a chemical test if lawfully arrested for DUI. Refusal to take a breath, blood, or urine test can lead to an automatic license suspension, regardless of the outcome of the DUI case. You have to act quickly if your license has been suspended due to your failure to provide a breath sample.
Field Sobriety Tests and Breathalyzer:Law enforcement officers in South Carolina typically conduct field sobriety tests, such as walk-and-turn or one-leg stand tests, to assess a driver’s impairment level. Additionally, they may administer a breathalyzer test to measure the driver’s BAC.
DUI Arrest and Legal Process:If arrested for DUI in South Carolina, the driver will be taken into custody and processed through the legal system. This involves appearing in court for an arraignment, where the charges are formally presented, and the defendant enters a plea. Subsequently, the case proceeds to trial, where evidence is presented, and the defendant’s guilt or innocence is determined.
Drivers charged with DUI should seek legal representation promptly to protect their rights, explore potential defenses, and minimize the potential impact of a DUI conviction on their life and future. Remember, the best way to avoid DUI charges is always to refrain from driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.