South Carolina Court Records
What is a DUI and a DWI in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, it is illegal under the state statutes to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs to a level where the individual’s driving skill is impaired significantly. Offenses like these are generally DUI (Driving Under Influence). The term DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) does not apply to South Carolina. The state also has a DUAC (Driving with unlawful alcohol content) law prohibiting driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of.08% or higher. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) manages and issues penalties for road traffic offenses and violations.
What is the Difference Between a DUI and a DWI in South Carolina
Unlike other states in the United States, DUI and DWI are the same, and both refer to when a driver operates a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs in South Carolina. However, the state uses the term DUI. A driver is under the influence if their blood alcohol content is over 0.05% but lower than 0.08%. The other type of DUI charge is DUAC. A DUAC is when the driver’s blood alcohol content is 0.08% or more, and this does not need proof of impairment to convict such an offender.
What happens when you get a DUI for the First Time in South Carolina?
For first-time DUI offenders, penalties include jail time, fines, and treatment through the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP). The jail time for a first time DUI offender falls between two to thirty days in jail. However, if the blood alcohol content of such an individual is.10% and above but lower than.16%, the minimum jail time is seven days, but if it exceeds.16%, then the jail time is between thirty to ninety days. In some cases, judges might sentence the offender to a commensurate community service time, but this depends on the judge only.
The fine for a first time DUI offender is $400. DUI offenders with a blood alcohol content of.10% or higher but lower than.16% are to pay $500, while violators with.16% or higher are charged a $1000 fine. Under the Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways, all individuals convicted of DUI must go through the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP), which involves completing the alcohol and drug evaluation and then putting the recommended treatment use. Also, other administrative penalties like a suspension of a driver’s license for six months is applicable. However, offenders enrolled in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP) can get a provisional license to drive during the suspension. If a driver’s blood alcohol content exceeds.15%, such traffic violator will get an additional one month of suspension and cannot obtain a provisional license. The party can obtain a restricted license for an ignition interlock, after conviction, to drive around with an ignition interlock device.
How Likely is Jail Time After a First DUI in South Carolina?
Not likely. The chances of a first time DUI offender serving jail time is slim and most judges will either ask the individual to go through public service employment or community service for a period equal to the jail time. Whether an individual serves jail time is strictly under the judge’s discretion, as seen in S. C. Code of Laws Sections 56–5–2930.
What are the Typical Penalties for a DUI Conviction in South Carolina?
There are various penalties attached to DUI convictions depending on the individual case. These punishments increase in the order of severity and reoccurrence. The penalties are mainly fines, jail time, and suspension of driver’s license, following S. C. Code of Laws Sections 56–5–2930, 56–5–2940, 56–5–2950, 56–5–2990, and 56–5–6240. The criminal penalties in order of severity are:
- First Offense DUI: This is a misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to thirty days in jail, a fine of $400, and a six-month suspension of driver’s license for those with a blood alcohol content below.10%. Offenders with a blood alcohol content between.10% and.16% will face up to thirty days in jail, a fine of $500, and a six-month suspension of license. Violators with a blood alcohol content higher than.16% will spend up to ninety days in jail, pay a fine of $1000 and get a six-month suspension of license.
- Second Offense DUI: Punishments include one year in jail, a fine of $5100, and a one-year revocation of driver’s license for those with a blood alcohol content below.10%. DUI violators with a blood alcohol content between.10% and.16% will face a penalty of up to two years in jail, a fine of $5500, and a one-year suspension of license or up to three years in jail. There is a fine of $6500 and a one-year suspension of license for DUI offenders with a higher than.16% blood alcohol content.
- Third Offense DUI: This is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to three years in jail, a fine of $6300, and two to four years revocation of driver’s license for DUI violators with a blood alcohol content below.10%. DUI offenders with a blood alcohol content between.10% and.16% will face penalties of up to four years in jail, a fine of $7500 and two to five years suspension of license or up to five years in jail, a fine of $10000 and two to four years suspension of license for those with a blood alcohol content higher than.16%. The length of the revocation of a license depends on when the third offense occurs. If it happened within five years of the first offense, then the license is revoked for four years. If it happens within ten years of the first offense, the court must confiscate the car if it belongs to the offender or a relative.
- Fourth Offense DUI: This is a felony with a penalty of up to five years in jail and permanent revocation of driver’s license for those with a blood alcohol content below.10%, while the court will punish violators with a blood alcohol content between.10% and.16% with up to six years in jail, and permanent revocation of license. More than.16% of blood alcohol content attracts up to seven years in jail and permanent revocation of license.
- For Commercial Drivers: Offenders must refrain from driving commercial cars for one year once, following a conviction of a first offense DUI with a blood alcohol content of.04% or more or when the violator refuses testing.
How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Record in South Carolina?
DUI convictions remain on an individual’s driving record permanently. The document is accessible through the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV), which maintains these records and issues these records. It is also noteworthy that South Carolina cannot expunge DUI convictions. However, DUI charges that resulted in dismissals or acquittals get automatic expungement by the court clerk.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
How do I Find DUI Checkpoints in South Carolina?
DUI checkpoints in South Carolina are legal, and law enforcement agencies are required to make public announcements about these checkpoints and the locations over the radio or in newspapers to help inform the public. At the checkpoints, law enforcement agents will ask for a driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance certificate for the vehicle. During this check, the officers will look for impairment clues before deciding on further investigation if there are suspicions. When facts are obtained to support impairment in the driver, the officer may make a DUI arrest.
Which is Worse; a DUI or DWI?
South Carolina laws consider both DUI and DWI to mean the same thing, unlike some other states where the terms have different meanings, and so there is no case of one being worse than the other. The severity of DUI in South Carolina is graded by the rate at which it occurs and the driver’s blood alcohol content.
What is an Aggravated DWI in South Carolina?
In place of aggravated DWI, which is common in other states, South Carolina has felony DUI when severe bodily harm or death is caused by driving under the influence. As seen inSC Laws Relative to Impaired Driving, an individual convicted of felony DUI faces penalties such as fines and jail time. The individual is subject to a fine of between $5,100 to $10,100 and imprisonment of up to 15 years for bodily harm. In the case of death, the driver faces a fine of $10,100 to $25,100 and imprisonment of up to 25 years.
What Happens When You Get a DWI in South Carolina?
DWI is the same thing as DUI in South Carolina, and all the typical penalties that apply to DUI convictions are based on the driver’s blood alcohol content and the recurrence rate. As stated in S. C. Code of Laws Section 56–5–2950 and 56–5–2951, any driver in South Carolina must consent for testing of breath, blood, or urine to find the presence of alcohol or drugs after violating a traffic rule. Those that refuse the test automatically get a 90-day driver’s license suspension.