There are several different charges that exist for impaired driving: Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs or DUI, Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration or DUAC, or Felony Driving Under the Influence. A conviction of any one of these charges will result in the suspension of your driver's license, taking the ADSAP (alcohol and drug safety action program) classes, and SR-22 insurance. Other consequences may also apply including ignition interlock devices installed on your vehicle and the immobilization of your vehicles. Some employers will terminate your employment for a conviction, and a conviction can result in the loss of college scholarships for students.
DUI is defined under South Carolina Code Section 56-5-2930. In a DUI case, the State must prove 3 things:
At no point in a DUI case does that State have to prove a specific alcohol level for the individual to be guilty of the offense. However, there are 3 tiers of punishment based on blood alcohol level:
In addition to the tiers of punishment, the Court you appear in and punishment also vary based on whether or not you have previous DUI or DUAC convictions in the past 10 years. 1st Offense cases are tried in Magistrate and Municipal Courts, while 2nd, 3rd, and 4th or subsequent offenses are tried in the Court of General Sessions.
DUAC charges carry the same punishment and sentencing structure as DUI charges. DUAC charges are defined under South Carolina Code Section 56-5-2933. The difference is that the State must only prove 2 things:
Felony DUI charges are extremely serious and a conviction can result in mandatory prison time. Felony DUI is defined under South Carolina Code Section 56-5-2945. In a Felony DUI case, the State must prove the following:
Get an experienced DUI lawyer on your side, who is ready to fight for you!
Technical defenses to a DUI or DUAC charge may exist in your case even if your are guilty of the offense. South Carolina Code Section 56-5-2953 lays out specific requirements for the State in regards to videotaping certain events.