Here’s What Can Happen if You’re Convicted or Plead to DUI / BUI:
South Carolina DUI Penalties
For a DUI 1st conviction, without accident or injury to others, you will lose your license for 6 months, subject to getting a provisional license. If from out of state, a conviction or plea will be forwarded to your “home state” where other penalties may apply under their laws.
In addition, depending on your “blood alcohol level,” you will pay a fine, perform community service (or jail time), enroll in an “alcohol and drug safety action program (ADSAP), and be required to maintain SR-22 insurance for 3 years, even if you do not own a vehicle. Also, under the relatively new “Emma’s law,” persons who refuse breath testing or have a reported BAC of 0.15 or greater will be required to have an ignition interlock system installed and be present in any vehicle they drive.
Here is the breakdown of penalties depending on your BAC level:
(BAC .10% or less) $400 fine, 48 hours in jail, or community service;
(BAC <.16%) $500 fine, 72 hours in jail, or community service;
(BAC .16% or higher) $1,000 fine, up to 30 days in jail (judge’s discretion).
Subsequent DUI convictions will result in even more serious penalties and fees. Any DUI arrest involving an accident with serious injury or death becomes a felony. If so charged, you need to immediately contact one of our DUI attorneys for more information and a private consultation.
DUI vs. DUAC
Everyone has heard of a DUI (Driving Under the Influence) charge. But in South Carolina, you can be arrested or sometimes plead to a DUAC (Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration). While many believe this is a “lesser charge,” it is not. To be convicted of a DUAC, the State has to prove (1) driving, (2) in the county where prosecuted, and (3) a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08 or greater. The penalties are the same as a DUI. The only advantage of pleading to a DUAC is the ability to say you were originally arrested for DUI but pled to DUAC at your lawyer’s urging. The distinction is minimal, but you can still maintain your professed innocence and only followed your lawyer’s sage advice.
For a first time BUI conviction or plea, the fine is $200 and jail time of 48 hours up to 30 days. The judge may order public service in lieu of jail for a minimum of 48 hours.
For a second BUI conviction or plea, the fine increases to $2,000 up to $5,000 and jail time of 48 hours up to 1 year. The judge may order public service in lieu of jail for a minimum of 10 days.
In addition to the above, your boat operating privileges will be lost for 6 months (BUI 1st) and 1 year (BUI 2nd). And, like in DUI cases, the offender must enroll and complete ADSAP training within 1 year from sentencing.
In cases where “great bodily injury” or death occurs, the crime becomes a felony, and fines and mandatory prison time increase. For “great bodily injury” cases, the fine is $5,000 to $10,000 and not less than 30 days in jail up to 15 years. No public service option is available. Where death results, the fine is $10,000 to $25,000 and not less than 1 year up to 25 years in prison. Again, no public service option can be given.
For subsequent offenses, the penalties increase even further. If so charged, you should immediately contact one of our experienced BUI attorneys and schedule a private consultation.