DUI Laws In South Carolina

South Carolina DUI laws frequently change, but here are some constants:

The primary determining factors of DUI are whether:

  • the defendant was driving,
  • the accused was driving was a motorized vehicle,
  • he/she was on the road, and
  • he/she was materially and appreciably impaired at the time of driving such that it impaired your judgment and ability to drive with a steady hand.

Under the new DUI statute:

  • A machine called a DATAMASTER determines the “guilt” of a suspected DUI driver. These statutes, often referred to as per se, usually define DUI as driving a motor vehicle on a road or highway with a blood alcohol level of at least .08.
  • The State must show that you were impaired at the time of driving. Quite often the test is taken a few hours later and, if you had consumed alcohol just before driving, the test would be higher than your actual level when driving.
  • A drunk driving lawyer can challenge the Solicitor or Prosecuting Attorney’s case. If there are weaknesses in the prosecution, Bubba Cromer DUI Lawyer may be able to have your DUI charge reduced to a non-DUI offense such as reckless driving.
  • having a BAC above the legal limit can be a separate charge, and it is considered strong evidence of intoxication. Especially under Emma’s Law, which passed in October of 2014. Be sure to read my blogs explaining these new and significant changes to DUI law in South Carolina.
  • you can still be arrested for drunk driving even if you aren’t tested.
  • South Carolina DUI laws state that it is unlawful to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs (legal or illegal) or any combination of alcohol and drugs. However, prosecutors must prove someone’s physical or mental ability to drive a car was impaired beyond a reasonable doubt. The penalties for driving under the influence of drugs are identical to the penalties for drinking and driving.
  • if you are over the age of 21 and are convicted of a DUI, the consequences vary depending on whether it is a DUI first, DUI second, DUI third, or DUI fourth drunk driving offense.
  • if you are convicted of DUI, you may obtain a provisional license.
  • anyone convicted of DUI is required to obtain SR-22 insurance for 3 years following a conviction which on average is an additional $300 – $500 in premiums per month.
  • not only have the fines and punishment for DUI increased, but the Legislature is currently considering instituting a “DUI Investigation Team” focused on operating checkpoints and cracking down on drunk driving.
  • many of the field sobriety tests such as the horizontal nystagmus gaze, walk and turn/walk the line, and the one legged stand were found to only be 65 – 77% effective.
  • South Carolina mandates that all DUI arrests, as well as any subsequent testing, must be videotaped; a police officer must begin videotaping as soon as the blue lights are turned on. South Carolina has a zero tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. The consequences can be long lasting including the loss of driving privileges, the loss of financial aid, as well as future job opportunities.
  • Remember Emma’s Law is brand new and requires ignition interlock devices now, so be sure to read my blog on this major change in South Carolina DUI law

Arrested for driving under the influence of drugs? Bubba Cromer,  is dedicated to protecting the rights of his clients, providing aggressive representation grounded in his 26 years of experience building, writing and interpreting the laws of South Carolina. In fact, Bubba Cromer served on the House Judiciary Committee, whose job it was to address many of the drug laws on the books today. He has also worked in the Richland County Solicitor’s Office.  Contact him today if you have been arrested.