If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI), there are several significant consequences you will have to deal with. These consequences will likely have an impact on many aspects of your life. The following is intended to help with understanding some of the issues that come with a DUI charge.
Basics of DUI
Under South Carolina law, DUI is defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, even if the person’s ability to drive is not impaired. For an individual under 21 years of age, the maximum BAC he or she may have before a DUI charge is 0.02 percent. DUI convictions remain on a person’s record for ten years and cannot be negotiated down to reckless driving involving alcohol (also known as “wet reckless).
It is important to note that an individual who drives a vehicle in South Carolina is deemed to have given consent to a chemical test of the breath, blood, or urine to determine the person’s BAC. A refusal to submit to a test will result in a license suspension. For a first time offender, the license suspension is six months. If an individual submits to a test and has a BAC of more than 0.15 percent, the person’s license will be suspended. If the individual does not have any prior convictions, the suspension is for a period of one month.
On the back of the license suspension form are instructions for requesting an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension, which costs $200. Importantly, after the hearing is requested and processed, the individual can apply for a temporary alcohol license, with payment of $100 to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A temporary alcohol license permits the individual to drive until the administrative hearing. During this period, the suspension is on hold pending the outcome of the hearing. If the individual is successful at the hearing, the suspension is terminated.
Alternatively, an individual can apply for a “route-restricted license.” This type of license allows the individual to drive to specific places, like work or school. If an individual’s license suspension is upheld, he or she must enroll in and complete the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP) and pay a $100 reinstatement fee to the DMV in order to have their license reissued.
For a first offense in which the individual had a BAC of 0.10 percent or lower, the penalties include a $400 fine and a jail sentence between 48 hours and 30 days. The 48 hours may be served as public service. The most severe consequences for a first offense occur if the individual had a BAC of greater than 0.16 percent. In that case, the penalties include a fine of $1000 and a jail sentence of 30-90 days. The 30-day minimum can be served as public service.
Help with a DUI Charge
DUI charges are very serious, with the potential for severe consequences. If you are facing a DUI charge, contact an experienced attorney today. At the Surasky Law Firm, LLC, we look forward to discussing how we can help you.