Depending on the specific facts and circumstances of a case, a first-time DUI defendant could have their driver’s license suspended for more than a month and up to six months if they refuse to take the breathalyzer test. A criminal defense lawyer could help avoid the suspension of your license following a Charleston first-offense DUI charge. Reach out to a dedicated DUI attorney today to learn more about the potential penalties of a conviction.

License Penalties

For a first-time DUI conviction in Charleston, the individual’s license may be suspended for six months. However, they may be able to install an ignition interlock device on their car for at least a period of three months. Once it is installed, the defendant may be allowed to drive on a restricted license.

If a defendant refuses a BAC DataMaster test, or if they register a 0.15 BAC or higher, they will likely suffer a penalty of an ignition interlock requirement. However, if they blew less than a 0.15, they may be eligible for a provisional driver’s license that allows them to drive during the applicable suspension period.

Applying for a Restricted License

A defendant cannot challenge the suspension of their driver’s license after a conviction. However, they could challenge their suspension under South Carolina’s implied consent law, which addresses whether or not someone refused the breathalyzer test or blew a 0.16 or greater. To do so, they must appeal the decision to suspend the driver’s license within 30 days of the date of the arrest.

After filing for an appeal, the driver will be given a hearing date to challenge whether the law enforcement officer followed the necessary rules and regulations in suspending their license under the South Carolina implied consent law.

After completing the back of the notice to the suspension form, which is a carbon copy form the DUI defendant receives when they are arrested, they can appeal the suspension by sending a $200 check to the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings of South Carolina requesting an appeal. Once the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings receives the appeal, the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) updates the information for that particular driver. The person may go to their local DMV office and obtain a temporary alcohol restricted license for $100 that allows them to drive while the implied consent matter is pending.

Mistakes to Avoid

The biggest mistake for a first-time DUI defendant to avoid is ignoring the possibility that they may have an underlying substance abuse issue that needs to be addressed. If a judge believes that a DUI defendant has a drinking problem, even if they are facing their first charge, the judge will be less lenient in levying penalties.

Hire a Lawyer Immediately Following a First-Offense DUI Charge

If you are worried about keeping your license following a Charleston first-offense DUI charge, the most important thing you can do is contact an experienced attorney. A lawyer could explain how to appeal a license suspension, work toward a restricted license, or otherwise ensure that you maintain your ability to legally drive. Reach out to an attorney today to learn more.