Most states define drunk driving as operating a motor vehicle while having a blood alcohol content above the legal limit. Many state laws set the legal limit at 0.08 for non-commercial vehicles and lower for commercial vehicles. However, drivers in South Carolina could get a DUI charge under the legal limit in certain situations.
Driver is visibly impaired
Before an officer charges a driver with DUI, they have to prove intoxication and probable cause to pull a driver over. For example, if the driver shows erratic behavior, such as constant lane changing, the officer has a reason to pull them over. The officer observes the driver for impairment and may conduct a breath test to check BAC.
Impairment from alcohol and substance use often causes lapses in judgment, slurred speech and poor balance. Even if the driver registers below 0.08, they will likely get charged with DUI if they show signs of intoxication. Impaired driving also applies to legal or illegal drugs, including prescription medication.
Many states apply zero-tolerance laws for drivers under 21, which are referred to as “per se” laws. This means young drivers with a BAC of 0.01 or greater or a driver who had one drink could face a DUI charge.
They may be charged for simply being in possession of an alcoholic beverage depending on state law. The reason for such strict laws is because drivers under 21 make up one-third of accidents involving alcohol. It also applies to impaired drivers who have minor children in the vehicle.
A DUI charge carries stiff penalties that could result in heavy fines and jail time. Drivers have the right to hire an attorney to defend them against the charges.