SC has severe penalties for repeat and felony DUI
South Carolina passed new measures in 2008 that updated the DUI laws. The change in law was aimed at bringing South Carolina law into agreement with the existing drunk driving laws in a majority of other states. The new DUI laws significantly increased the severity of the penalties for those convicted on repeat and felony DUI charges.
In determining whether you're a repeat offender, the law uses a 10 year look-back period. If you've been convicted of driving under the influence at any point in the 10 years preceding your most recent DUI offense, you'll be charged as a repeat offender and sentenced accordingly.
Penalties for Repeat and Felony DUI Charges in South Carolina
Though the facts and circumstances of each case vary, if you're arrested on a repeat DUI or felony charge you'll likely face one or more of the following:
Second DUI Offense
- A fine between $2,100 and $5,100
- A one year suspension of your driver's license
- A sentence of 5 days jail time to one year in prison
- A court ordered certificate of completion of a drug and alcohol treatment program
- A required installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of two years.
Third DUI Offense
- A fine between $3,800 and $6,300
- A two-year suspension of your driver's license
- A sentence of 60 days jail time to three years in prison
- A court order certificate of completion of a drug and alcohol treatment program
- A required installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of three years.
Fourth DUI Offense
- A one- to five-year prison sentence.
Penalties increase in DUI cases if a minor is in the vehicle at the time of arrest, the blood alcohol content (BAC) is greater than or equal to 0.10, or if an accident occurs as a result of the DUI offense.
What happens to your driving privileges
If convicted on repeat DUI or felony charges, many states, including South Carolina, require you to install an ignition interlock device before you're able to obtain an occupational or "DUI Hardship" license. The charge of repeat or felony DUI results in an automatic suspension of your driver's license. A DUI hardship license is a restricted rights license that allows you to drive to and from work or school after you're charged or convicted of DUI.
To be eligible to receive a DUI hardship license, you're required to install an ignition interlock device. The ignition interlock device attaches to your car and works as a Breathalyzer test would. The car won't start until you blow into the device which reads your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). The device must register your BAC at 0.02 or lower in order for the car to start. Otherwise, the machine records a"FAIL" result.
On occasion, you'll be required to blow into the ignition interlock device while driving. If the device registers your BAC above 0.02 at any time, it causes the car's lights to flash, the horn to sound, and the windshield wipers to turn on. Failed recordings are logged by the device and may result result in the revocation of your occupational license.
We want to help
At Law Office of David B. Tarr, we specialize in DUI Defense, so we know there's a lot at stake when you're charged with a repeat or felony DUI. We analyze the facts and circumstances surrounding your case with a well-trained eye to find potential grounds for a dismissal of your charges or a reduced sentence. To learn more about how we can help, contact the Law Office of David B. Tarr online or call 803-238-7967 and schedule your free initial consultation today!