DUI in South Carolina

Driving under the influence in South Carolina is very much illegal and it's important to know the consequences, so that you will not commit any actions that may jeopardize your life or your future.

The table below outline some of the general penalties expected when convicted of a DUI in South Carolina. The state DUI penalties vary on a case by case basis, and it is always recommended that anyone facing a DUI charge in South Carolina consult with an attorney immediately. A DUI lawyer will ensure the outcome is as lenient as possible.

South Carolina DUI Penalties

Court Fines Potential Jail Time License Suspension
1st Conviction $400 2 to 30 Days
6 Months
2nd Conviction $2,100-5,100 5 Days to 1 Year
1 Year
4th Conviction $1800-2800 180 days - 1 year Minimum of 3 Years

The South Carolina DUI Law

The DUI Law in South Carolina can be called up in two ways. The first case is the physical or mental impairment case, meaning that if it can be proven that you were physically or mentally impaired at the time, regardless of your blood alcohol level, and then you can be convicted of DUI. However, in this case, it's necessary for the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were actually impaired physically and mentally; if any doubt rests in any aspect, then you will not be convicted.

If your blood alcohol content is over 0.08%, then regardless of how impaired you are, you will be convicted. This is called the "per se" case. You can technically refuse the blood alcohol content chemical tests (the breathalyzer is one of them), but this is not recommended because when you receive your license, it is assumed that you have given implied consent for these tests to be taken. In the case that you refuse, your license will be removed for an automatic 90 days.


South Carolina is unique in that in that state, it is mandatory to videotape the arresting officer and the entire DUI arrest and breath test. The videotape does not lie, and shows the most honest results of exactly what happened so that it cannot be refuted or twisted later. The tape is required to begin when the officer's blue lights turn on and must include the arrested person being informed of his or her Miranda rights before any tests are given to check sobriety. The entire breath test must be on tape, including the implied consent warning. If videotaping does not occur and the police could have done it, then the entire case is dismissed.

Details of Penalties

A first offense DUI can result in 48 hours to 30 days of imprisonment, along with a $400 fine and possible community service. You must obtain SR-22 insurance if you wish to keep your license after the first time offense. If this is the second offense, you can be fined anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 and be sentenced to prison for up to one year. Instead of serving jail time, you may be required to serve community service. If you are sentenced a fourth time, it is considered a felony.

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