Here in Greenville and upstate South Carolina, it is a crime to drive a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol use or with high blood alcohol concentrations. If you find yourself pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence, call experienced DUI defense attorneys like the ones at The Law Office of H. Chase Harbin. As you can see below, there are serious criminal and financial consequences of being convicted of DUI. You need a well-trained and proven criminal defense attorney to help. Here is a primer on DUI laws and penalties here in South Carolina.
Greenville DUI Defense Attorneys: Two DUI Statutes — Impairment and Blood Alcohol Concentration
There are two ways to be convicted of DUI in South Carolina: (i) by driving while “impaired” and (ii) driving with an unlawful blood alcohol concentration (“BAC”). The first is governed by S. Car. Code Ann., § 56-5-2930. This section reads in part:
“It is unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle within this State while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired …”
The second is governed by S. Car. Code Ann., §56-5-2933 which reads in part:
“(A) It is unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle within this State while his alcohol concentration is eight one-hundredths of one percent or more. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of the offense of driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration …”
As in many states, the general “unlawful blood alcohol concentration” is 0.08 percent, but the limit is 0.04 percent for commercial drivers and 0.02 percent for drivers under the age of 21. Note that there is no “impairment” requirement under Section 2933. Likewise, you can be convicted for DUI under Section 2930 without proof or evidence related to BAC.
Greenville DUI Defense Attorneys: Criminal Penalties and Fines
If you are convicted of DUI or driving while impaired, the criminal penalties and fines depend on two factors: (i) whether you have prior DUI convictions and (ii) your level of BAC. Note that your license will also be suspended and installation of an ignition interlock device may be required before your driving privileges are reinstated. However, this article will only discuss criminal and financial penalties.
Here are the possible jail times and fines for a FIRST OFFENSE:
- Less than 0.10 percent BAC — 48 hours to 30 days in jail (public service available) or $400 fine
- Between 0.10 percent BAC and 0.15 percent — 72 hours to 30 days in jail (public service possible) or $500 fine
- Over 0.15 percent BAC — 30 to 90 days in jail (public service available) or $1000 fine
Here are the possible jail times and fine for a SECOND OFFENSE:
- Less than 0.10 percent BAC — five days to one year in jail AND $2100-5100 fine
- Between 0.10 percent BAC and 0.15 percent — 30 days to two years in jail AND$2200-5500 fine
- Over 0.15 percent BAC — 90 days to three years in jail AND $3500-6500 fine
Here are the possible jail times and fine for a THIRD OFFENSE:
- Less than 0.10 percent BAC — 60 days to three years in jail and a fine from $3800-6000
- Between 0.10 percent BAC and 0.15 percent — 90 days to four years in jail and a fine from $5000-7500
- Over 0.15 percent BAC — 180 days to five years in jail and a fine from $7500-10,000
Here are the possible jail times and fines for a FOURTH OFFENSE or more:
- Less than 0.10 percent BAC — one-five years imprisonment
- Between 0.10 percent BAC and 0.15 percent — two-six years imprisonment
- Over 0.15 percent BAC — three to seven years imprisonment
Greenville DUI Defense Attorneys: Contact The Law Office Of H. Chase Harbin Today
To avoid these severe financial and legal consequences, it is important to fight to avoid a DUI conviction. There many possible defenses such as whether “DUI stop” was proper, whether the state or city police had probable cause or a reasonable suspicion, etc. It is important to seek legal counsel from the skilled and experienced Greenville SC DUI defense attorneys at the Law Office of H. Chase Harbin. Importantly, we advise that you do NOT drink and drive at all. But if you do and get pulled over, act quickly and contact us via email or by phone. We have offices in Greenville and Pickens, South Carolina.