Since 2012, South Carolina has laid down new laws, which counts DUI convictions in other states as previous convictions under South Carolina law if they happened within 10 years of the most recent DUI offense.  Further, DUI charges are now determined by a person’s BAC, and with this, the new laws carry higher penalties with regard to fines and jail sentences.  South Carolina law also requires both first time and subsequent offenders to complete an alcohol counseling program as part of the sentence; further, they will be required to pay for such a program which may cost as much as $2000.

If the offense is the persons first DUI charge, if the person has a BAC or .08% to .09%, he may be facing up to 30 days in jail or 48 hours of community service, and a $400 fine.  For a first offense with a BAC or .1% to .15%, the offender may face up to 30 days in jail, or 72 hours of community service, coupled with a $500 fine.  However, if the first DUI offender has a BAC or .16% or higher, he or she will face 30 to 60 days in jail or 30 days of community service, with an increased fine of up to $1000.

If the offense is not the person’s first DUI offense, offenders may also be required to surrender the registration and license plates of any vehicles they own, may be required to spend 5 to 30 days in jail at a minimum (depending on the level of BAC).  Also, the offender will not be able to substitute community service hours for jail time.  With regard to the fines a person is to receive, if the BAC is .1% to .15%, he or she may face up to 2 years in jail, and the fine could increase to $2500 to $5500.  Finally, with a BAC or .16% or higher, there is a minimum of 90 days in jail to 3 years, and the fine may increase to between $3500 to $6500.

Therefore, due to the fact that the South Carolina Legislature is strengthening their DUI system, it is even more important to retain competent counsel.  If you or a loved one has been charged in your first DUI, and even subsequent DUI’s, call the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP.  You can contact our Baxter Village office in Fort Mill, South Carolina at 803-548-4444, or toll free at 877-374-5999.