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What are the laws governing drunk driving in South Carolina?

Those who are convicted of drunk driving in South Carolina face the threat of jail time, suspension of driving privileges, steep fines and having ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. A drunk driving conviction can also result in the need to complete drug safety and alcohol safety programs.

Due to the stiff penalties associated with a drunk driving offense -- and the fact that it is one of the most common criminal offenses that South Carolina residents are charged with -- it is important that every South Carolina driver familiarize him- or herself with the laws associated with this offense.

First, according to South Carolina law, individuals who have a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more could be arrested and accused of drunk driving. For people who are under the age of 21, they can be convicted of drunk driving if their blood alcohol level is only .02 percent or more. That said, people can be accused and convicted of DUI even if their blood alcohol levels test under the legal limit -- depending on the nature and circumstances of their arrests.

Penalties associated with a drunk driving or DWI conviction become worse the more times that someone is convicted of the offense. For a first offense conviction, individuals will face a $400 fine or they must spend 48 hours to 30 days behind bars or serve a community service punishment. For a second offense, individuals can expect fines from $2,100 to $5,100 and five days to 1 year behind bars. After a third conviction, the punishments are even worse. They include fines from $3,800 to $6,300 and from 60 days up to 3 years behind bars.

Due to the serious nature of a DWI conviction, South Carolina residents who have been arrested and accused of such a crime may wish to consider contracting professional legal assistance to help with their criminal defense proceedings.

Source: dmv.org, "DUI & DWI in South Carolina" Dec. 18, 2014

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