Since South Carolina has one of the highest numbers of DUI-related fatalities, measures had to be undertaken in order to make our roadways safer. A new set of laws came into effect in February 2009 that impose higher fines and longer jail sentences for drunk drivers. These laws apply to everyone, so it is important to be well-informed before you get behind the wheel.
Changes to the DUI laws include:
Higher fines and longer jail sentences based on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) at time of arrest
The DUI Law:
First Time Offenders: 2-30 days in jail OR 48 hours of community service, $400 fine
Subsequent Offenders: 5 days to 1 year in jail, $2100-$5100 fine
First Time Offenders: 3-30 days in jail OR 72 hours of community service, $500 fine
Subsequent Offenders: 30 days to 2 years in jail, $2500-$5500 fine
BAC 0.16 and above
First Time Offenders: 30-60 days in jail OR 30 days of community service, $1000 fine
Subsequent Offenders: 90 days to 3 years in jail, $3500-$6500 fine
Additional Penalties Included in the new DUI law in South Carolina:
- Six month license suspension for underage drinkers
- Six month increase in license suspension for refusing a breath-test
- Mandatory alcohol and drug treatment program for all offenders, including first-time offenders
In addition to the changes that were made to the laws, South Carolina also has an implied consent law. This change makes it a requirement for anyone who is driving in the state of South Carolina to consent to a chemical test of their blood, breath or urine if they are thought to be under the influence.
Whether they are South Carolina residents, tourists visiting the area, or people simply passing through, drivers who are intoxicated pose a dangerous threat to other motorists. These laws will hopefully prevent drivers from even thinking about getting behind the wheel after drinking.
You WILL be penalized in South Carolina if you:
-Are a driver with a BAC of .08 or higher
-Are a driver under 21 with a BAC of .02 or higher
-Are a Commercial Vehicle Driver with a BAC of .04 or higher
Basically, the risks of drunk driving far outweigh the justification you may have about drinking while under the influence. It has the potential to ruin your life physically, financially, and emotionally, as well as the lives of others. So please choose to be safe on South Carolina’s roadways by not driving under the influence of alcohol and other substances.
If you happen to be in the unfortunate situation where you are involved in a DUI-related accident, you should seek the aid of an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately.
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