Regular readers of our Rock Hill criminal defense blog know that South Carolina’s DUI (driving under the influence) laws are among the nation’s toughest. But if you have been arrested and charged with drunk driving, the details of the law and its strict punishments can become difficult to recall with certainty.

Those charged with DUI want to know if they face the possibility of jail upon conviction, how large of a fine they could be required to pay if their driver’s license will be suspended (and for how long), and so on. We are going to clear up some of those questions in this blog post.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety says on its website that the state’s legal threshold to determine drunk driving is a BAC (blood alcohol content) of .08 percent, though the agency is quick to point out that even a lower BAC could result in arrest.

“If you have a BAC that is at least 0.05 percent but less than 0.08 percent, your BAC level may be considered along with other evidence to infer that you are under the influence,” DPS states matter of fac

If you are pulled over and arrested for a first-offense DUI, you face several punishments if you are convicted, including the following:

  • Jail time: the minimum is 48 hours and the maximum is 30 days
  • Driver’s license suspension: up to six months
  • Fines: $400 (though it goes up to $992 with assessments and surcharges)

    Penalties for a second drunk driving offense are even harsher:

  • Jail time: a minimum of five days to a maximum of one year behind bars.
  • Driver’s license suspension: up to one year
  • Fines: a range of $2,100 to $5,100 (though assessments and surcharges can bring it to $10,744)

It should be noted that imprisonment for a felony DUI ranges all the way up to 15 years behind bars.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving, speak to a Rock Hill attorney experienced in DUI defense about your legal options before you talk to a prosecutor.