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What is a DUI in South Carolina?

In the State of South Carolina, there are two driving under the influence type criminal offenses: Driving Under the Influence (DUI), and Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC). You can be charged for Driving Under the Influence (DUI) if an officer believes you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of the two, and your ability to drive is materially and appreciably impaired.

You can be charged with Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or higher.

What’s the difference between DUI and DUAC? I thought the “legal limit” was .08%?

In a DUI case, the government must prove that the alcohol or drugs impaired your ability to drive. In a DUAC case, the government must only prove that your blood alcohol concentration was .08% or above. In a DUI case, the jury can infer guilt if a person’s’ blood alcohol concentration is .08%. In other words, a jury could find you guilty of DUI on that basis only, but doesn’t have to. Furthermore, you may be charged with DUI if you have a blood alcohol concentration less than .08%. You may also be charged with DUI if you have a .00% blood alcohol concentration if the arresting officer believes you are under the influence of drugs.

A DUAC, on the other hand, only deals with blood alcohol concentration. If you are found be driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater, you can be charged with DUAC.

You can only be charged with one offense; you cannot be charged with DUI and DUAC. But, if you were originally charged with DUI, the State can elect to prosecute you under the DUAC law.

The penalties and collateral consequences of being convicted of DUI and DUAC are the same.

Criminal Penalties:

  • 1st DUI/DUAC Offense:
    • BAC of less than .10%:
      • Fine + Court Costs; or
      • 48 hours–30 days incarceration
      • In lieu of 48-hour minimum sentence, court may sentence to 48 hours of community service
    • BAC of .10% - .15%:
      • Fine + Court Costs; or
      • 72 hours–30 days incarceration
      • In lieu of 72-hour minimum sentence, court may sentence to 72 hours of community service
    • BAC of .16% or greater:
      • Fine + Court Costs; or
      • 30 days–90 days incarceration
      •  In lieu of 30-day minimum sentence, court may sentence to 30 days of community service
  • 2nd DUI/DUAC Offense:
    • BAC of less than .10%:
      • Fine of $2100.00 - $5200.00; and
      • 5 days–1 year incarceration
    • BAC of .10% - .15%:
      • Fine of $2500.00 - $5500.00; and
      • 30 days–2 years incarceration
    • BAC of .16 or greater:
      • Fine of $3500.00 - $6500.00; and
      • 90 days–3 years incarceration
  • 3rd DUI/DUAC Offense:
    • BAC of less than .10%
      • Fine of $3800.00 - $6300.00; and
      • 60 days–3 years incarceration
    • BAC of .10% - .15%
      • Fine of $5000.00 - $7500.00; and
      • 90 days–4 years incarceration
    • BAC of .16% or greater
      • Fine of $7500.00 - $10,000.00; and
      • 6 months–5 years incarceration
  • 4th DUI/DUAC Offense:
    • BAC of less than .10%
      • 1 year–5 years incarceration
    • BAC of .10% - .15%
      • 2 years–6 years incarceration
    • BAC of .16% or greater
      • 3 years–7 years incarceration

There are also numerous collateral consequences that you may suffer if you are convicted of DUI or DUAC, including driver’s license suspensions, mandatory SR-22 insurance (High Risk Insurance), mandatory enrollment in the Alcohol Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP), and mandatory installation of an Ignition Interlock Device (BAC machine installed in your vehicle).

No matter what you blew or if you refused, you are presumed innocent. Just because you have been charged with DUI or DUAC does not mean you are guilty of DUI or DUAC.

If you, a loved one, or a friend have been charged with DUI or DUAC, contact John for a free consultation.

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