Risk of Putting Others in Danger Can Quickly Increase DUI Penalties

The repercussions of getting a DUI in South Carolina are severe. Therefore, it's important to have proper legal representation and to understand the legal process, the elements of a DUI case and the potential punishments. Further, a drinking and driving charge can quickly escalate to a more serious charge when others are put in physical danger such as when drinking and driving causes injury or death or when driving under the influence with a minor in the vehicle. For example, a South Carolina school bus driver may face more than a DUI charge after allegedly causing a traffic accident involving children.

Recently, a 61-year-old school bus driver was arrested after causing a crash at an elementary school in Batesburg-Leesville, South Carolina. According to the Associated Press, the bus driver hit a parked bus and pushed the parked bus into another bus that was waiting for students after the end of the school day. According to the news report, students were on the school buses, but no children were injured during the accident. The bus driver was placed on leave and was arrested for DUI after the accident.

Drivers convicted of DUI in South Carolina face license suspension, fines, and jail time or public service requirements. The range of DUI fines and penalties in South Carolina is contingent on the blood alcohol content of the driver when arrested and whether the driver has been convicted of DUI in the past.

Penalties in South Carolina for First DUI Offenses

A driver convicted of a first DUI offense with a blood alcohol content under 0.10 faces license suspension for six months, a fine of $400, and a minimum jail time of 48 hours with a maximum jail time of 30 days. Depending on the circumstances, a judge may substitute jail time for community service.

A driver convicted of his or her first DUI offense with a BAC between 0.10 and 0.16 or a BAC above 0.16 faces increasingly greater fines and penalties. Similarly, a driver convicted of his or her second DUI offense or a driver convicted of DUI with multiple prior offenses faces progressively harsher fines and penalties.

Drivers in South Carolina convicted of a second DUI offense or more are also required to participate in an ignition interlock program after their license suspension is complete. Drivers convicted of DUI may also be ordered to participate in an alcohol or drug intervention program.

Since the legal process can be confusing and nuanced, it is important to have effective representation every step of the way. If you have been charged with DUI in South Carolina, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss your legal options.