What Is the Ignition Interlock Program in South Carolina?

October 4, 2019

As a DUI law firm, we are often asked questions regarding how the South Carolina Ignition Interlock Device Program works. This program is part of Emma’s Law that was put into place in 2014 and revised in June 2015. A large portion of this law relates to ignition interlock devices and people that are convicted of DUI offenses.

Who Is Required to Participate in the Ignition Interlock Program?

Nearly anyone who has been convicted of a DUI will be required to enroll in the program, except those who are first-time offenders and those who were driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration who refused the breathalyzer test or blew less than 0.15 percent.

This means that if you blew over 0.15 percent and have been convicted of a DUI, you will have to enroll in the program. You will also have to enroll in the program if your DUI conviction was your second or subsequent offense, was a felony DUI, or you endangered a child. You may apply for a waiver to the program if you have a medical condition that keeps you from properly operating the ignition interlock device, but instead of being required to enroll in the program, your license will be suspended.

How Long Will I Have to Use the Ignition Interlock Device?

The time that you will be required to use the interlock device depends on your violation, regardless of what you pled to. For example, if your original charge was a second-time DUI and you plead to a lesser conviction of first-time DUI, you will still likely have to use the device as though you were convicted of a second-time DUI. The time periods required to keep an ignition interlock device are as follows:

  • First DUI (BAC > 0.15%) – Six months
  • Second DUI – Two years
  • Third DUI – Three years
  • Fourth or Greater DUI – Lifetime; however, once five years have passed, you may apply for the removal of the device.
  • Felony DUI – Five years if the DUI caused death and three years if the DUI resulted in great bodily injury.

If you are convicted of a DUI-related charge in another state you will be required to use an ignition interlock device for the amount of time that South Carolina law requires, or however long the other state requires, whichever is longest.

Violations and Penalties

Your ignition interlock device must be installed by a certified vendor and you will be required to pay for the installation, monitoring, and maintenance of the device. If you lose or damage the device, you will also be required to pay for this.

Once the device is installed, you will be required to blow into the device and register a blood alcohol content of less than 0.02 percent or your car will not start. If you blow greater than this, there is a point system that will penalize you for violating the program. Penalties may include extended use of the device and substance abuse treatment and/or education.

If you violate the program by not having your vehicle equipped with the device you can face jail time, extended required use of the device, and monetary fines. If you ask someone to blow into your device to start your vehicle you may also be penalized.

Contact an Experienced DUI Attorney Today

If you are facing DUI charges or have already been ordered to use an ignition interlock device, contact a Charleston DUI attorney at the David Aylor Law Offices today to schedule a consultation. We will ensure your rights are protected and get you the best possible outcome for your case.

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