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DUI in South Carolina

DWI in South Carolina

South Carolina DUI lawyers can help drivers who have been arrested for "driving under the influence" or DUI. DUI penalties can include fines, high court costs and jail time. Do not try to fight a DUI charge alone. DUI attorneys understand South Carolina DUI laws and have helped many DUI drivers.

South Carolina drivers may be arrested for DUI or "driving under the influence" if they meet the following conditions:

  1. A driver is operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and the amount consumed has altered or impaired the physical or mental ability of the driver.
  2. The driver is under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs and their driving is appreciably or materially impaired.
  3. A driver is operating a motor vehicle with a BAC or blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. The driver's faculties do not have to be impaired to be arrested. In South Carolina this is called per se DUI.

Penalties for DUI in South Carolina

General information is provided below. The specifics of your DUI should be discussed with a South Carolina DUI lawyer. South Carolina's penalties for DUI vary based on the BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of the arrested driver and the number of previous DUI convictions.

First DUI offense (BAC under 0.10%)

  • Required license suspension for 6 months
  • Required to pay a $400 fine
  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 48 hours up to a maximum of 30 days or the court may decide to impose 48 hours of public service
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program

First DUI offense (BAC .10% up to 0.16%)

  • Required license suspension for 6 months
  • Required to pay a $500 fine
  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 72 hours up to a maximum of 30 days or the court may decide to impose 72 hours of public service
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program

First DUI offense (BAC above 0.16%)

  • Required license suspension for 6 months
  • Required to pay a $1,000 fine
  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 30 days up to a maximum of 90 days or the court may decide to impose 30 days of public service
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program


Second DUI offense (BAC under 0.10%)

  • Required license suspension for 1 year
  • Required to pay a $2,100 - $5,100 fine
  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 5 days up to a maximum of 1 year
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program

Second DUI offense (BAC 0.10% to 0.16%)

  • Required license suspension for 1 year
  • Required to pay a $2,500 - $5,500 fine
  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 30 days up to a maximum of 2 years
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program

Second DUI offense (BAC above 0.16%)

  • Required license suspension for 1 year
  • Required to pay a $3,500 up to $6,500
  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 90 days up to a maximum of 3 years
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program


Third DUI offense (BAC under 0.10%)

  • Required to pay between $3,800 and $6,300
  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 60 days up to a maximum of 3 years
  • License suspension
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program

Third DUI offense (BAC 0.10% to 0.16%)

  • Required license suspension
  • Required to pay a $5,000 - $7,500 fine
  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 90 days up to a maximum of 4 years
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program

Third DUI offense (BAC above 0.16%)

  • Required license suspension for 1 year
  • Required to pay a $7,500 up to $10,000
  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 6 months up to a maximum of 5 years
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program


Fourth DUI offense (BAC under 0.10%)

  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 1 to 5 years
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program

Fourth DUI offense (BAC 0.10% to 0.16%)

  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 6 years
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program

Fourth DUI offense (BAC above 0.16%)

  • Required jail stay of a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 7 years
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol abuse treatment program

Source: South Carolina Code of Laws Title 56 (Motor Vehicles) 56-5-2930, 56-5-2933

Additional South Carolina DUI Penalties
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles publishes a list of the license numbers of South Carolina drivers who have had their license suspended for driving under the influence.

South Carolina drivers who have been convicted of multiple DUI offenses also can be required to install an Ignition Interlock Device or to attend a drug or alcohol treatment program.

Refusing a breathalyzer test
South Carolina's implied consent law means you have given your implied consent to a blood, urine or breathing test if you have been arrested for DUI. Drivers who refuse to take the test can have their South Carolina driver's license suspended for one month to nine months. Drivers can request a hearing to review their license suspension. Drivers who do not request their hearing with in 30 days of the arrest will immediately lose their driving privileges.

Hiring a South Carolina DWI Attorney
One of the most common questions from drivers is whether of not they should hire a DUI lawyer. If this is your second, third or fourth offense or if your DUI has injured or killed another driver, the answer is a resounding yes. The penalties for multiple DUI offenses can be very severe. Most DUI attorneys offer a free initial consultation to review a DUI case.