What to Do If You are Charged with a DUI in South Carolina

February 22, 2024

A DUI charge can be overwhelming. Criminal charges often lead to hefty fines, time in jail, and other significant penalties. Knowing what to expect and how you can protect yourself can help.

What Are the Consequences of a DUI Charge in South Carolina?

A South Carolina DUI charge carries significant consequences. Under the law, a DUI can be classified as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances.

Penalties include:

  • Fines ranging from $400 to $25,100
  • Temporary to permanent license suspension
  • Jail time from a few days to 7 years

Every DUI case is different. Penalties depend on a wide range of circumstances, including:

  • What was the blood alcohol level (BAC)?
  • Is this the first offense or one of many?  

The consequences are typically more severe if the DUI charge results from a traffic accident. If a person is seriously hurt as a passenger or an occupant in another vehicle, it can be considered a felony DUI.

Never Speak to Police Without a Lawyer

You always have the right to remain silent. Law enforcement officers are trained to obtain admissions of guilt or confessions. Even answers to seemingly straightforward questions may hurt your defense.

Apart from giving your name and basic identifying information, it is in your best interests to refrain from answering any other questions. If you feel pressured and are unsure how to exercise your right, simply state, “I wish to remain silent,” and ask for an attorney.

Can I Refuse to Submit to a Breathalyzer Test and Field Sobriety Test in South Carolina?

In short, you have the right to refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test and field sobriety test. However, your license will be suspended for at least 6 months if you refuse to submit to a breathalyzer test.

Like the rest of the nation, South Carolina follows the doctrine of implied consent. Implied consent states that drivers must submit to a chemical test following a DUI arrest. While you always have the constitutional right to refuse a breath, blood, or field sobriety test, understand there will be consequences.

Listen to Your DUI Attorney

Listen to your South Carolina DUI attorney. They are ethically bound to represent your best interests. What’s more, your attorney has their own reputation to uphold.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has been pushing for stricter laws and higher conviction rates. Currently:

Pressure for reform can mean DUI arrests will be pursued more aggressively in the near future.

Attorneys spend years studying the law. As wonderful as it is to have a virtual encyclopedia in the palm of your hand, Google and Wikipedia cannot take the place of education, skill, and experience.

Barboza Law is the South Carolina DUI Attorney You Can Trust

A DUI charge can have significant consequences. Unfortunately, it can happen easier than you think.

Attorney Barboza has years of experience handling DUI cases. Growing up in South Carolina, she has deep ties to the community and has dedicated herself to helping those in need of high-quality, affordable legal services. Please call (803) 973-6003 today to schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your situation.