Columbia DUI Lawyer

In South Carolina, it is illegal to drive under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs which cause impairment to the extent that a person’s faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired.

If you have been charged with driving under the influence, contact a Columbia DUI lawyer today to review the charges against you and determine what legal defenses and courses of action that might apply to your situation. An experienced defense attorney in Columbia can help in building a defense and ensuring you know what to expect at each step of the legal process.

South Carolina DUI Laws

South Carolina has enacted numerous DUI laws that a Columbia DUI attorney must take into account when building a defense, including:

  • Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Test. In South Carolina, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle with a BAC is 0.08% or higher. This is known as Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration a/k/a DUAC.  If a person’s BAC is 0.08% or higher, it is inferred that the person was impaired for DUI.   That percentage drops to 0.02% or higher for anyone who is 21 years of age or younger under South Carolina’s zero-tolerance policy. Those who hold a CDL (commercial driver’s license) cannot drive that vehicle if their BAC is 0.04% or higher.
  • Consent to Test. According to SC Code Sec. 56-5-2950, anyone who drives in the state of South Carolina is considered to have given implied consent to take a blood, breath, or urine test in order to determine their BAC when they are arrested on the suspicion of DUI.

Refusing testing will result in having their driver’s license suspended for six months – and that refusal may be used against you in court.  A person has 30 days to challenge the DL suspension in the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings (OMVH) by requesting a Contested Case hearing.

  • South Carolina’s DUAC (Driving with Unlawful Alcohol Concentration) law is similar to South Carolina’s DUI law – the being that a person can be found guilty of a DUAC simply due to having a BAC level of .08 or higher – regardless of whether their faculties allowed them to drive.

Potential DUI Penalties

South Carolina’s DUI penalties can be significant depending on BAC levels, a person’s age, whether they have had previous convictions, and the specific facts and circumstances surrounding the arrest, including:

  • First DUI offense. A first SC DUI offense will result in a six-month driver’s license suspension (three months for those under 21); a $400 fine OR two to 30 days prison time OR community service.
  • Second DUI offense. A second SC DUI offense will result in a one-year driver’s license suspension; possible fines of over $5,000; five (5) days to one year in prison.
  • Third DUI offense. A third SC DUI offense will result in a two (2) to four (4) year driver’s license suspension; possible fines of over $6,000; 60 days to three (3) years in prison.

License Reinstatement After a DUI Conviction

The process to get a South Carolina driver’s license reinstated may vary depending on a specific DUI offense, but in many cases, the person must complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP); pass a South Carolina knowledge test and driving skills test; pay a reinstatement fee of $100, and provide an SR-22 for proof of insurance

An experienced Columbia DUI attorney can often plea bargain to reduce sentences, such as reckless driving, investigate whether the BAC testing machines were faulty, discredit field sobriety testing methods, and legal defenses of DUI.  It is crucial for everyone to evaluate all of their legal options before accepting a plea.

Talk to a Columbia DUI Attorney Today

If you have been charged with a DUI in South Carolina, contact a Columbia DUI lawyer who will fight for your rights. Your future is important. Do not let a DUI arrest affect your life without contacting an experienced DUI attorney who will stand by you every step of the way.