Consequences of a DUI Conviction

A DUI conviction can have serious consequences, including substantial fines, potential jail time, the suspension of your license, increased insurance costs, and many other often unanticipated consequences.

Collateral Consequences of a SC DUI Conviction

Everyone knows that a DUI conviction can result in jail time and potentially thousands of dollars in fines and court costs. But, there are many other “hidden” consequences of a DUI conviction that police, prosecutors, and even judges will not tell you as they attempt to get you to plead guilty. For example:

  • License suspension – a DUI conviction carries a mandatory license suspension that is separate to any implied consent suspensions that have already been imposed;
  • License revocation – depending on your driving history, a DUI conviction may trigger the DMV to declare you a “habitual traffic offender” and revoke your license for five years;
  • ADSAP and associated fees – following either an implied consent suspension or a DUI conviction;
  • Ignition interlock devices – may be required after an implied consent suspension or a DUI conviction. The device is monitored by the probation department and there are associated fees;
  • Increased insurance costs – you will be required to purchase expensive SR-22 insurance and keep it for a minimum of three years. If your policy lapses, the time period is extended;
  • Job loss – many employers will terminate an employee who has a DUI conviction, and it may be difficult to find another comparable job;
  • Financial aid – any alcohol-related offense may impact your ability to qualify for state or federal scholarships, grants, and loans;
  • Professional licensing – a DUI conviction may cause licensing boards to take action against you if you hold an occupational license such as a nurse, doctor, or truck driver;
  • Restricted travel – believe it or not, some countries will not admit persons who have a DUI conviction on their record – if this is you, check with your attorney before traveling abroad; and
  • A permanent criminal record – a DUI conviction can never be expunged in SC.
What are the Penalties for a DUI Conviction in SC?

DUI penalties in SC are based on the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) and whether the defendant has prior convictions for DUI.

Every DUI offense in SC now has a mandatory minimum sentence. In addition to fines, license suspension, and the other consequences listed above, SC DUI offenses carry the following potential jail sentences:

Penalties for DUI First Offense
  • BAC less than .10: A mandatory minimum sentence of 48 hours (or 48 hours of community service) and up to 30 days in jail.
  • BAC .10 to .15: A mandatory minimum sentence of 72 hours (or 72 hours of community service) and up to 30 days in jail.
  • BAC .16 or greater: A mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days (or 30 days of community service) and up to 90 days in jail.
Penalties for DUI Second Offense
  • BAC less than .10: A mandatory minimum sentence of five days and up to one year in prison.  
  • BAC .10 to .15: A mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days and up to two years in prison.
  • BAC .16 or greater: A mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days and up to three years in prison.  
Penalties for DUI Third Offense
  • BAC less than .10: A mandatory minimum sentence of 60 days and up to three years in prison.  
  • BAC .10 to .15: A mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days and up to four years in prison.
  • BAC .16 or greater: A mandatory minimum sentence of six months and up to five years in prison.  
Penalties for DUI Fourth Offense or Greater
  • BAC less than .10: A mandatory minimum sentence of one year and up to five years in prison.  
  • BAC .10 to .15: A mandatory minimum sentence of two years and up to six years in prison.
  • BAC .16 or greater: A mandatory minimum sentence of three years and up to seven years in prison.  

On a first offense DUI, the court can allow the defendant to do community service in lieu of the mandatory minimum sentence, but not for second or subsequent offenses. No part of the minimum sentences can be suspended.

What are the Penalties for Felony DUI in SC?

The penalties for felony DUI are much more severe. In addition to mandatory fines, license suspension, and ignition interlock requirements, felony DUI carries a potential prison sentence of:

  • Felony DUI resulting in great bodily injury: A mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days and up to 15 years in prison; and
  • Felony DUI resulting in death: A mandatory minimum sentence of one year and up to 25 years in prison.
SC DUI Defense Attorney in Lexington, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach

Lacey Thompson understands what is at stake when you are charged with any DUI offense in SC – it could mean your license, your job, or even your freedom. Her practice is focused solely on criminal defense and DUI defense, giving her the knowledge and experience needed to maximize your chances of a dismissal or an acquittal.  

Call the Thompson Defense Firm now at 843-444-6122 or contact us online for a free consultation if you have been arrested or charged with any type of drunk driving offense.