Under South Carolina DUI law, you can be arrested with felony for driving under the influence based on your driving ability. If the officer can prove beyond reasonable doubt that you are not able to drive safely due to the presence of alcohol or drugs in your system, you can be arrested. However, South Carolina DUI law also addresses blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. If your BAC tests at .08% or higher, you will face stricter penalties than those who are arrested for DUI with lower BAC levels. However, South Carolina does not have per se laws that allow you to be arrested based on BAC levels alone. If your driving does not indicate beyond reasonable doubt that you are intoxicated, you will not be arrested for a DUI.DUI Arrests in South Carolina
When you are arrested for DUI in South Carolina, you will be asked to submit to a BAC test. You have the right to refuse to take this test. However, doing so means that you could face stricter penalties. Since DUI is considered a criminal offense, you will face a day in court. Having a qualified DUI lawyer working with you will help you prove that there is doubt as to your guilt. South Carolina guarantees you the right to trial by jury for DUI convictions if you should choose. If you are convicted of a felony DUI in SC and caused any bodily or personal property damage, then you could face a minimum mandatory prison sentence along with penalties and fines.
South Carolina is unique in the fact that it is the only state that requires videotaping of DUI arrests and breath testing. This keeps the officers at the scene honest and helps relay what happened at the time of the arrest in court. The breath test must be done within three hours of the arrest. The only time that an officer will be excused from videotaping is if there is no physical way for the officer to do so. This requires a sworn affidavit from the officer on the scene.Basic Consequences for First Time Offenders
If your South Carolina DUI arrest is your first one, you can expect to face the following penalties:
If you have previous DUI offenses on your record, you should expect to face stricter penalties.License Suspensions for South Carolina DUI
In South Carolina your driver's license will be suspended as a result of a DUI conviction. If your BAC tests at .08% or higher, the license suspension will begin before your trial. However, if your BAC is lower, you will not have to serve your license suspension until after your conviction. Expect to face the following license suspension times as a result of your South Carolina DUI arrest:
Restricted licenses are available. Your attorney will help you apply for the restricted license so you can still drive to work or school. This is only available if your college or place of employment is more than one mile from your home and you cannot take public transportation to go to school or work.Insurance Consequences
When you are done with your license suspension, you will have to have insurance before you can get your license back. This may be difficult, because insurance companies often drop customers who have DUI convictions. If your policy is not canceled, the cost of your insurance premiums will increase quite a bit.