Drunk Driving Incidents FAQs

February 22, 2024

South Carolina is one of the country's top states for DUI arrests. Recent studies scored each state by DUI arrest, the severity of the DUI, and the number of fatalities. Coming in at No. 11, South Carolina scored 54.9 out of 100.

With pressure to push for harsher penalties, a DUI charge may be more serious than ever. You need a skilled and resourceful drunk driving attorney in South Carolina by your side to protect your rights.

1. Will A High BAC Lead to Harsher Charges in South Carolina?

Having a higher BAC will lead to harsher charges in South Carolina. Generally, when a person reaches a 0.08% BAC, they are over the legal blood alcohol limit in the state. Once a person's BAC reaches the legal limit, they are considered drunk under the law and subject to a DUI.

Penalties for a 0.08-0.09% BAC, if it is the first offense, can include:

  • 2 to 30 days in jail
  • A fine of $400 plus assessments and surcharges
  • 6-month license suspension

A .08% BAC or higher is charged as a misdemeanor. for first offenses. However, South Carolina has two higher BAC level ranges that can lead to harsher penalties.

A BAC between 0.10 and 0.16:

  • $500 fine plus assessments and surcharges
  • 3-30 days in jail
  • 6-month license suspension

A BAC above 0.16:

  • $1,000 fine
  • 30 to 90 days in jail
  • 6-month license suspension

If you have been charged with a DUI and may be facing harsher penalties due to a higher BAC, speak to a DUI attorney at Barboza Law immediately.

2. How Does Law Enforcement Decide if a Person is Acting "Drunk"?

When police evaluate a driver against what is considered to be normal mental and physical abilities, they are looking for a combination of physical and behavioral signs. The criteria law enforcement uses to determine if a person is possibly intoxicated or acting in a way that is not "normal" can be vast.

Physical symptoms of intoxication can include:

  • Bloodshot or watery eyes
  • Slurred speech
  • Odor of alcohol
  • Flushed face
  • Dilated pupils
  • Unreasonable sweating

Behavioral signs of intoxication may include:

  • Slowed reaction time, including abnormal pauses before answering questions
  • Speaking nonsensically to the officer or passengers
  • Overtly aggressive behavior
  • Lethargic behavior

If an officer suspects a driver may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may request field sobriety tests or a breath test.

3. Can You Lower Your Blood Alcohol Level Before Driving?

Lowering your blood alcohol level takes several hours. Individuals who believe they can "sober up" before driving home may still have a criminal BAC.

Alcohol is a toxin that is absorbed into the digestive system. A person's liver then begins to filter it out of the bloodstream. When a person consumes alcohol faster than the liver can filter it out, the BAC will increase.

Your BAC can be affected by the following factors:

  • The type of alcohol consumed (e.g., wine, beer, liquor)
  • How quickly drinks are consumed
  • If the individual ate before drinking and how much
  • The age and weight of the individual

Call a South Carolina DUI Defense Attorney Today

Attorney Barboza has years of experience helping individuals charged with misdemeanor DUIs and felony DUIs. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, call Barboza law and schedule a consultation. Speak to an experienced DUI defense lawyer in South Carolina today by calling (803) 973-6003.