Have you committed a felony involving an over-the-limit blood alcohol content? If so, you may want to consult with an experienced lawyer in South Carolina. Are you looking for a law firm that can properly represent you? A first offense could carry a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail, while any subsequent offenses could result in up to 3-5 years of active jail time.
Touma Law Group provides criminal defense services and strives to minimize the seriousness of any charges or sentences imposed. Contact our experienced DUI attorney in Greenville, SC today for a free consultation!
What Defines an Aggravated DUI in South Carolina?
Aggravated Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is a serious crime in South Carolina. It occurs when an individual operates a motor vehicle with an unlawful blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.15 or higher, has a minor as a passenger at the time of the offense, or is convicted of DUI for a second time within ten years and has caused injury to another person.
Penalties are harsher than other forms of DUI and can involve fines, imprisonment, license suspension or revocation, community service, and participation in a drug/alcohol education program. In certain circumstances, if a person is fatally injured as a result of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may be charged with vehicular homicide.
What are the Laws and Penalties for Aggravated DUI in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, an impaired driver faces stricter laws and penalties with a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours, potential fines up to $5,000, and the possibility of 6 points being added to the license. A conviction may entail participating in an alcohol or drug education program and the potential suspension of a license for six months or longer.
Individuals with prior convictions in the past decade may be liable for felony DUI, with a maximum prison sentence of 15 years or a fine up to $10,000. Driving while impaired could result in a charge of vehicular homicide, with a potential prison sentence of up to 25 years.
- For first-time offenses, fines can reach $1,000 or 90 days of imprisonment
- For a second offense, $3,500 - $6,500 plus 90 days up to 3 years in jail
- For a third or subsequent offense, between $7,500 to $10,000 plus 6 months up to 5 years in jail
The court may choose sentence alternatives such as other forms of punishment or public service employment or prison alternative programs.
Alcohol and Drugs
In South Carolina, the legal blood alcohol content limit is 0.08%. In cases where the Blood Alcohol Content is higher than this, stiffer penalties may apply. Driving while under the influence of alcohol affects one's ability to drive properly. An individual can be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol level is below the legal limit and they exhibit signs of intoxication. To avoid a drunk driving offense it is highly advised not to drink and drive at all. An individual with a BAC above 0.08% will have their license suspended or revoked while refusal to take a breathalyzer test will be met with similar mandatory suspensions.
Additionally, more serious consequences such as jail time and increased fines may be applied to those caught with higher concentrations of alcohol in their blood. Individuals who violate drug and prescription drug laws by operating a vehicle under the influence are subject to criminal prosecution as well as penalties such as jail time, public service employment, community service hours, and minimum mandatory sentences, among others.
Aggravating Factors that Increase Penalties for DUIs in South Carolina
South Carolina has introduced additional penalties for drivers found guilty of aggravated DUI. Additional aggravating factors are having a blood alcohol level above 0.15%, driving with minors in the car, or causing an accident with an unlawful alcohol concentration level or while using prescription medication.
Penalties may include higher fines, active jail sentences and/or suspension times, and participation in an alcohol education or treatment program. These penalties were established to ensure public safety on roads by enforcing legal BAC limits and should be respected as serious offenses. Drivers should be acutely aware of the risks posed by reckless and negligent driving while under the influence of alcohol, as this can have heavy repercussions.
Presence of a Minor Under 16 Years Old in Vehicle
In South Carolina, driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol with a minor child passenger in the vehicle is considered child endangerment. In addition to regular DUI penalties such as fines, jail time, and revocation of driving privileges or license revocation, it can be considered an aggravated DUI.
This can result in higher fines, permanent revocation or automatic suspension of driving privileges, and mandatory jail sentences. It can also involve additional requirements such as attendance at Alcohol Highway Safety School, alcohol treatment programs, and hours of community service. These harsher penalties are put in place for both driver and child safety, so caution should be taken when driving.
Subsequent Offenses Within 10 Years of Prior Conviction
Any subsequent DUIs within 10 years of having a previous violation for DUI can result in even more severe penalties. The court may choose to impose a longer suspension of your license or revocation of your driver’s license, higher fines, and mandatory imprisonment.
If you are convicted multiple times within 10 years, the state may also choose to classify your offense as aggravated DUI. This means that additional stiffer punishments may be imposed, such as increased or additional prison terms and larger fines. It is important to understand the laws surrounding DUIs to avoid these consequences and keep yourself and others safe on the road.
Excessive Speed or Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Restrictions Violations
South Carolina has strict enforcement of speed limit and Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) laws. Violating these laws may result in an aggravating DUI conviction, which has steeper punishments than regular DUIs. Operating within the law is essential to prevent convictions as well as injury or death for yourself and other drivers.
Related Content: DUI Statistics for South Carolina
To minimize risks, it is important to drive safely and follow basic safety protocols when operating a vehicle. For more information or if you have any questions to ask a DUI lawyer, contact Touma Law Group today!
What to Do if You Are Charged With an Aggravated DUI?
If you have been charged with aggravated DUI in South Carolina, it is important to seek out qualified legal advice as the punishments for aggravated cases can be harsh. Potential punishments for violations may include license suspension, jail time of up to thirty days, a fine of $1000, community service, and the requirement to use an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.
Touma Law Group provides legal advice from qualified criminal defense attorneys, including guidance on charges, plea bargains, punishments, and probation requirements. Touma Law Group may be able to help dismiss misdemeanors or other charges from records. If further violations have occurred then longer license suspensions and prison sentences are possible as are compulsory treatment programs and forfeiture of the vehicle which depend on individual circumstances.