Sadly, studies have shown that South Carolina has more deaths due to drunk driving than any other state in the southeast. The Palmetto State ranks second for having the most DUI fatalities in the United States according to that study. The study was based on 2017 statistics and showed that 6.22 impaired driving deaths occurred per 100,000 people in South Carolina.
Due to these statistics, the South Carolina Highway Patrol has ramped up their Sober or Slammer campaign in hopes of decreasing these statistics. They say that distractions, lack of use of seatbelts, alcohol, and speed contribute to many of these fatal collisions. Although they plan to do as much as they can to reduce these statistics, they hope that drivers who have been drinking will make a conscious effort to not get behind the wheel and drive when they are impaired.
DUI Arrests and Penalties
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 331 deaths resulting from drunk driving in 2016. The SCHP says that they made nearly 22,000 arrests for DUI in 2017, and they plan to increase that number. It’s clear that drinking and driving is not a laughing matter.
Being arrested and charged with a DUI can result in stiff penalties. A first offense conviction for driving under the influence occurs with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent and 0.10 percent. This can result in jail time ranging from a minimum of 48 hours to as many as 30 days in jail. A first-time offense with a BAC of 0.10 percent to 0.16 percent will result in a jail sentence from the minimum of 72 hours up to 30 days in jail. If the offenders BAC is 0.16 percent or more, the minimum sentence is 30 days in jail and up to 90 days in jail.
In lieu of jail time, the court may order you to perform community service instead, and this may be ordered ranging from two to 30 days depending on your BAC level when you were arrested. In addition to jail time or community service, you will also receive a fine based on your BAC. This fine will range from $400 to as high as $1,000 plus court costs. You will also be required to attend a substance abuse program that has been approved by the state.
First-time offenders whose BAC was 0.15 percent or more will also be required to use an ignition interlock device for six months and may have to obtain a special interlock restricted driver’s license. Your license will also be suspended for the first six months, and can only be reinstated after you file proof of an SR22 form, complete the substance abuse program, and pay a $100 reinstatement fee.
With each conviction for DUI, the penalties increase. Jail time can be increased to up to seven years in prison, and fines can be as high as $10,000 plus court costs. With the fourth offense, the offender’s license will be revoked for life.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today
It is easy to see that driving under the influence charges are not to be taken lightly, which is why you need to have representation from an experienced Charleston DUI defense attorney. The lawyers at David Aylor Law Offices will work to create the best possible defense strategy for your charges. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
David Aylor is a Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Charleston, Walterboro, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 11 years. David Aylor believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.