What you need to know if you get a DUI in SC

pulled over for DUI

DUI charges in South Carolina can be devastating. You may end up losing your license, paying expensive fines, or even with jail time. An experienced DUI defense lawyer can help you avoid many of the negative consequences that may go along with your DUI conviction.

Find a DUI Lawyer who will Listen to you

David Tarr is an experienced DUI Lawyer in Columbia SC. He knows what questions to ask when you've been charged with DUI in SC. He also knows that listening to your answers is the best route to a successful defense. He understands that the facts and circumstances of your case are unique, and he wants to hear the details.

Choose an attorney who's got your back

For most clients, anxiety sets in the moment they're pulled over. You may have never been in trouble before, and have no idea what to do. David will patiently walk with you through each step of the legal process so you're ready for whatever comes next.

Depending on the specifics of your case, it may be possible to have your sentence reduced or even thrown out.

Since 2019 David has been listed as one of "Three Best Rated" DUI lawyers in Columbia! To be included, lawyers must be expert recommended, and face a rigorous 50 point inspection, including customer reviews, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, trust, cost and general excellence.

Featured Review

David Tarr is an A+ lawyer and will work with you to get what you need done. I recommend him for anybody with a DUI/simple possession, he works hard and will put you before himself. Thanks David!

Richard C.

DUI Consequences vary

The consequences of a DUI in South Carolina can depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • Any previous DUI convictions
  • Whether you caused an accident while driving under the influence
  • Whether you took a breath test, and how the results of the test were handled
  • Your level of intoxication

Having an experienced DUI defense lawyer like David Tarr on your side can make a huge difference in the penalties you ultimately experience due to a DUI arrest.

Careful review of your dui case

David takes great care in reviewing your case to determine if there are grounds to dismiss the charges against you. In some cases, arresting officers may commit serious errors that could ultimately lead to your charges getting thrown out. He can help find any issues that may influence your case, such as:

  • whether the arresting officer had reasonable suspicion to pull you over;
  • whether the police officer properly administered the field sobriety test;
  • whether the breathalyzer test is potentially inaccurate;
  • how the police force handled evidence related to your breathalyzer or field sobriety test.

DUI Charges involve many challenges

David is prepared to go to bat for you as you handle the many challenges that can go along with a DUI.

  • DUI administrative hearings. In addition to your court case, you'll need to go to a hearing by the SC Department of Motor Vehicles. This may determine whether or not your license is suspended.
  • First-time DUI charges. Handled urgently and properly, a first-time DUI can have only a limited effect on your life. David will represent you aggressively to help increase the odds that you will avoid long-term consequences.
  • Examining your past history. DUI penalties will depend greatly on your existing criminal record, if any, and the circumstances surrounding your arrest. It may be possible to have the charges against you dismissed or reduced, and David will help fight to make it happen.
  • Repeat and felony DUI charges. The law uses a 10 year look-back period. If you've had a DUI in the last 10 years, you'll be charged as a repeat offender. These are serious criminal charges, and having an experienced DUI lawyer is crucial to a good outcome.
  • Underage drinking and driving. Youth are especially vulnerable to heavy consequences due to a DUI conviction. Given the long life ahead of them, they want to keep their criminal records clean. David can help fight help decrease the challenges young people may face due to alcohol impairment behind the wheel.

A DUI Arrest has Many Consequences

Since 2008, South Carolina DUI laws are in line with most of the rest of the country. The legal penalties confronting you after a Columbia DUI arrest are both financially and personally costly. A charge of driving under the influence of alcohol or driving while intoxicated is often accompanied by:

  • high fines and court costs
  • a high chance of a suspended drivers license
  • expensive SR-22 insurance for three years
  • court ordered drug and alcohol treatment program
  • jail time
  • if you’re a College Student, loss of federal loans or grants
  • a negative effect on your current employment and even future employment options

Mitigating those penalties as much as possible can help you maintain your overall quality of life in spite of a DUI charge.

DUI Jail Time and Fines

Three situations can increase the standard penalties in DUI cases:

  1. if a minor is in the vehicle at the time of arrest,
  2. if the blood alcohol content (BAC)of the driver is greater than or equal to 0.10, or
  3. if an accident occurs as a result of the DUI offense.

If any of these are true, you may also be subject to license suspension, completion of a drug and alcohol treatment program, or the required installation of an ignition interlock device in your car.

Fines and financial penalties may continue to add up as you deal with the aftermath of a DUI.

First Offense DUI

If this is your first offense DUI, the criminal penalties you may face are directly related to your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), found in the results of your breathalyzer test or a blood test conducted after your arrest.

  • A BAC between .08 and .15: a fine of $500 not including additional court costs, up to 72 hours of community service, and in some cases, anywhere from 3 to 30 days in jail;
  • A BAC of .16 or higher: a $1,000 fine in addition to court costs, up to 30 days of community service, and as many as 90 days in jail.

DUI Second Offense

If you're charged with a second DUI after a prior DUI conviction, you may face the following penalties:

  • Second DUI conviction (within 10 years of first): a fine between $2,100 and $5,100, in addition to court costs, and a sentence of jail time ranging from a minimum of 5 days to one year in prison.
  • A BAC between .10 and .15: will get you a fine of $2,100 to $5,100, plus court costs, and a jail sentence of anywhere from 30 days to two years in prison
  • A BAC of .16 or higher: will cost you from between $3,500 to $6,300 in fines, in addition to court costs, and a jail sentence of a minimum 90 days up to three years in prison
  • One year suspension of your driver's license
  • Court ordered certificate of completion of a drug and alcohol treatment program
  • Required installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of two years

3rd Offense DUI

If this is your 3rd DUI offense, your penalties may be doubled:

  • A third DUI conviction (within 10 years of first): a fine between $3,800 and $6,300, plus court costs; a jail sentence of 60 days to three years in prison
  • A BAC between .10 and .15: a fine between $5,000 to $7,500, plus court costs; 90 days in jail to four years in prison
  • A BAC between .16 and above: a fine between $7,500 to $10,000, plus court costs; six months in jail to five years in prison
  • Court ordered certificate of completion of a drug and alcohol treatment program
  • License suspension
  • Required installation of an ignition interlock device for a period of three years.

Repeat and Felony DUI

Four drunk driving offenses within a 10 year span is considered a felony DUI in South Carolina. Penalties include incarceration for up to seven years and an automatic suspension of your driver's license. Furthermore, repeat, felony DUI conviction may have a long-term impact on your employability and your insurance costs.

Having a South Carolina DUI attorney on your side can help you reduce potential penalties and protect your freedoms.

DUI Hardship License

You may be eligible for a DUI hardship license. This restricted license allows you to drive to and from work or school. To be eligible for a DUI hardship license, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device in any vehicle you use on a regular basis.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device?

The ignition interlock device attaches to your car and works as a breathalyzer. 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. Occasionally, 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 in losing your hardship license.

A hardship license may restrict where you can travel or for what purposes. However, it can allow you freedom to travel to work or school, to care for children, or to make court-mandated appointments. A South Carolina DUI lawyer can help guide you through the process of applying for a hardship license, whether you need to apply in Rock Hill, Charleston, or Greenville.

A Columbia, SC DUI attorney has your best interests at heart

If you've been charged with a DUI, timing is very important. Letting the process unfold without a solid defense can work against you and increase your levels of stress and worry.

An experienced DUI attorney like David Tarr knows how to 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.