In Greenville, South Carolina, if you are charged with driving with an unlawful amount of alcohol or drugs in your system, you can face both administrative and criminal penalties. These include expensive traffic ticket fines, automatic suspension, permanent revocation, and even time in jail.
The astronomical fines, jail time, and other criminal penalties largely depend on the details of your DUI case. And the severity of traffic violations, including your blood alcohol content, whether it is your second DUI or subsequent offense, whether you were involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident, or whether you caused serious bodily injury. It's essential to note also that South Carolina has an implied consent law.
This means that every driver on South Carolina's roadways automatically consents to a test of their blood sample, breath sample, or urine sample after they have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. While you can refuse this test, doing so will result in additional penalties, including license suspension.
How Long can Your License be Suspended After a DUI?
If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and fail a chemical test, or refuse one, odds are your driving privilege will be suspended for a period of time. The period of suspension depends on the details of your case. If you refuse chemical testing, your driver's license can be suspended for a period of time ranging from a 6-month suspension to fifteen months, depending on how many drunk driving convictions you have received in the last ten years.
If you decide to submit to a chemical test, under the implied consent law, your driver's license will be suspended if the level of alcohol in your blood is 0.15 percent or more. License suspensions for a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or more vary from a month suspension to four months also depending on your previous intoxicated driving convictions in the last ten years.
If you lose your license for a DUI, you can request an administrative hearing, and you may qualify for temporary licenses that will allow you to drive until you get the results of your administrative hearing. If your hearing is successful, then your driver's license will be reinstated. However, if you're unsuccessful, your driver's license suspension will remain. It is possible to qualify for a temporary alcohol license so that you can still drive to school, medical appointments, or work, but drive again with no limitations, you'll need to enroll in a rehabilitative program and pay license reinstatement fees to have your driver’s license reinstated.
It's crucial to note that the license suspension consequences under the implied consent violation are separate and occur alongside any license suspensions because of a DUI conviction.
For a 1st offense, license suspensions typically last for six months. A 2nd offense carries a one-year license suspension period. A 3rd offense can cause a two-year license suspension period, but if your DUI conviction happens within five years from the date of your 1st offense, your license suspension may last for four years. Further, a fourth or subsequent offense is considered a felony DUI offense and can result in a permanent revocation. You can qualify for a restricted provisional license; however, to qualify, you must meet specific requirements.
Losing your legal right to drive is a serious consequence of a drunk driving conviction or conviction under South Carolina’s implied consent law. It doesn't matter whether you are a first-time offender or have a history of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; your license can be suspended for a minimum of six months. Losing your driving privileges can have serious consequences in other areas of your life as well, especially if you don't qualify for a provisional or restricted driving license.
If you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving or under South Carolina's implied consent law, it's essential to contact a DUI criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. At Touma Law Group, our experienced DUI criminal defense lawyers can help you beat your charges and maintain a clean driving record. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, contact our Greenville criminal defense law firm today at (864) 618-2323.
What are the Consequences for a First-Time DUI in Greenville, South Carolina?
In South Carolina, a conviction for a first-time DUI offense can cause up to a $400 fine or a minimum jail sentence of 48 hours and a maximum sentence of 30 days if your blood or breath alcohol concentration is less than 0.10 or if you refuse to take a breath test. When a person’s blood alcohol content is at least 0.10% but less than 0.16%, the criminal charge is punishable by a fine of $500 or a prison sentence ranging between 72 hours and 30 days.
If a drunk driver's blood alcohol concentration is 0.16 or more, they can face criminal penalties that include a fine of $1,000 or a jail sentence ranging between 30 and 90 days. Instead of minimum imprisonment in these cases, the court can order the defendant to do community service.
These base fines double after a DUI conviction when court fees and assessments are added.
Typically, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol convictions can also cause increased auto insurance rates. DUI offenders convicted of DUI are required to get SR-22 insurance when they reinstate their driving license. The SR22-certificate is an indicator of a “high-risk” auto insurance policy. It triggers an increase in auto insurance premiums and you have to carry it for three years.
Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) determines the cost of services provided by each certified Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP). The defendant will bear the costs of all services offered. Those costs typically include $500 for education services and $2,000 for treatment services. While a DUI offender can't be denied services because of their inability to pay, instead, they must perform 50 hours of community service.
What are License Reinstatement Requirements in South Carolina?
The duration of your license suspension can be reduced if you appeal against your DUI charge. Alternatively, you can seek alternative driver's license options such as route-restricted license or provisional license.
However, you'll need to apply for license reinstatement when you're eligible. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) directs this application. The Department of Motor Vehicles also judges your application against specific requirements.
Typically, before applying for license reinstatement, you must have completed an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. Also, you must pay a $100 reinstatement fee. Sometimes, other fines may be included, causing the total reinstatement fees to be higher. If you're required to pay a license reinstatement fee of more than $300, you can apply for the SCDMV payment plan.
You'll also be required to submit an SR22- certificate of insurance when applying for license reinstatement. You can get the certificate from your insurance provider and must carry it for 36 months. If your license was suspended for multiple drunk driving offenses, you may be required to install an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle before you apply for reinstatement. A qualified attorney can help you through the license reinstatement process.
Can I Appeal Against License Suspension in Greenville, South Carolina?
Often, a DUI charge doesn't stand up to a rigorous court hearing. That's because most DUI citations are unfairly meted out. The presence of alcohol test results may not support the DUI charge or the facts of the case may point in favor of you.
Often, you can contest your DUI license suspension. With a skilled DUI criminal defense attorney on your side, this can result in a reduction in the license suspension period. In cases where evidence of impairment is scarce, you can have the license suspension canceled altogether and have your license revoked immediately. To file an appeal against your driver's license suspension, you must contact the South Carolina Administrative Law Courts.
Learn More: What to do After a DUI
Contact Our Seasoned Greenville DUI Criminal Defense Attorneys Today for Legal Advice!
The Greenville DUI lawyers at Touma Law Group have deep ties to the communities we serve, including Mauldin, Spartanburg, Berea, and Powdersville. We have committed our legal careers to making sure clients like you get a fair outcome if they are charged with a DUI/DUAC in South Carolina. Contact our Greenville law office today at (864) 618-2323 to discuss your case. Our criminal defense team can put our knowledge and experience to work for you right away.