In South Carolina, since 1983, it has been a felony to cause death or great bodily harm to another person while operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
This is classified as a Felony DUI under S.C. Code § 56-5-2945. If a victim dies as a result of a driver operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the penalty is a mandatory fine of $10,000 to $25,000 and mandatory imprisonment of 1 to 25 years. Additionally, the statute states, that no part of the mandatory sentence may be suspended.
Three elements are required for a charge of Felony DUI to be distributed: (1) the actor drives a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; (2) the actor does an act forbidden by law or neglects a duty imposed by law; and (3) the act or neglect proximately causes great bodily harm or death to another person. State v. Dantonio, 376 S.C. 594 (2008).
Proximate cause is outlined in Dantonio, which states that a defendant’s act need not be the sole cause of the victim’s death to sustain a conviction for Felony DUI, provided it is a proximate cause actually contributing to the death. Id.
If you or a loved one has been convicted of a Felony DUI charge, call the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP for a private consultation. We welcome the opportunity to sit down and personally review your case. Call us today at our York County office at 803-548-4444 or toll-free at 877-374-5999.