South Carolina DUI FAQs

South Carolina DUI FAQs

South Carolina DUI FAQs

Drinking and driving is dangerous and can lead to serious consequences. If you’re found guilty of driving under the influence, you may face heavy fines, jail time, license suspension, ignition interlock device requirements, alcohol and drug safety programs, and other fees.

Penalties for a DUI/DWI will vary based on the severity of your offense and the number of times you’ve received a DUI in the past 10 years.

What defines a DUI in South Carolina?

In our state, it’s illegal to operate a vehicle if your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08% or higher.

If you’re under 21, it’s illegal to drive over 0.02%.

If you’re driving with a CDL license, the legal limit is 0.04% or higher.

Depending on the situations surrounding your offense, you may still receive a DUI or alcohol-related violation even if your BAC is under the legal limit.

What if I refuse a Chemical Test?

South Carolina has an “Implied Consent” law. This means that if you drive in the state of South Carolina, you automatically agree to take a chemical test if asked to do so by law enforcement. Because of this law, if you refuse a chemical test, you may end up with more penalties.

What are Administrative (Civil) Penalties?

Civil penalties are received in addition to criminal penalties. If you fail or refuse to take a chemical test, you can expect to lose your license for a certain period of time. You can plan to receive a notice for your administrative (civil) hearing within 30 days of your hearing date.

If you choose to not contest the suspension of your license or the hearing doesn’t go well, you may face administrative penalties:

How long will my License be Suspended?

  • 1st offense: 6 months
  • 1st offense (if your BAC was 0.15% or higher): indefinite
  • 2nd offense: indefinite
  • 3rd offense: indefinite

How long will my license be suspended if I refuse a chemical test?

  • 1st offense: 6 months
  • 2nd offense: indefinite
  • 3rd offense: indefinite

For both DUI and refusal of a chemical test, you’ll be required to take a course covering alcohol and drug abuse. This will be in addition to paying for license reinstatement and special insurance fees.

What are the Criminal Penalties I may face?

Criminal penalties for DUI or chemical test refusal in South Carolina are severe.

Criminal penalties will be in addition to administrative penalties. These penalties will be determined by what your BAC is at the time of testing.

At a minimum, if you blow under 0.16%*, you will probably face:

  • A $400 fine
  • At least 48 hours in jail
  • Up to 30 days of jail time
  • and/or 48 hours of community service

Additional offenses can result in higher fines and more jail time (up to 5 years).

If you refuse to take a chemical test, you will usually receive similar penalties to these.

*A BAC of over 0.16% will result in higher fines and jail time.

For more information, contact the South Carolina DMV.

If you or a loved one received an injury from a drunk driver, contact The Clardy Law Firm , DUI accident lawyer in Greenville, SC for help with your case.