The probable punishments associated with a driving under the influence (DUI) offense can vary greatly based on the unique circumstances of the case. Many DUI charges are misdemeanors, but even so, the possible punishments vary greatly. Felony offenses and aggravated DUIs greatly enhance the penalties you may face. Understanding these consequences may help you appreciate the need for a strong criminal defense.

To present a defense to your charges, let an accomplished lawyer familiar with Charleston DUI penalties help you. A dedicated DUI attorney could help you protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome in your case.

Penalties for Standard DUI Charges

South Carolina Code § 56-5-2930 outlines the potential penalties associated with driving under the influence (DUI) charges throughout the state. The consequences might greatly vary depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Convictions for a typical DUI charge may result in a first, second, third, or fourth and subsequent offenses.

First Offense

For a first offense, the driver must have had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more. They may face a fine of up to $400, assessments and surcharges, and a prison sentence of 48 hours to 30 days. Suspension of a driver’s license for six months will also occur.

Second Offense

For a second DUI offense in Charleston, someone may face penalties of $2,100 to $5,100 fines, assessments and surcharges, and a prison sentence of up to one year. A driver’s license suspension of one year will also occur.

Third Offense

For a third offense, the driver might face a fine of $3,800 to $6,300 plus assessments and surcharges, and a prison sentence of 60 days up to three years. A driver’s license suspension of two years will also occur.

Fourth and Subsequent Offenses

An offender may face one to five years in prison and permanent revocation of their driver’s license in this situation. The punishments greatly increase for every subsequent offense. This makes it important to defend every DUI charge, no matter how many are in a defendant’s record.

Felony and Aggravated DUI Punishments

In very serious situations, a person may face an aggravated DUI charge. These are felony-level offenses that carry very stiff punishments compared to typical DUI penalties. These include cases that result in great bodily injury or death.

Great Bodily Injury

In cases that involved great bodily injury, consequences include a fine of $5,100 to $10,100 plus assessments and surcharges. A convicted person may also be imprisoned from 30 days to 15 years.


If a defendant causes a person’s death while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they face a mandatory fine ranging from $10,100 to $25,100. There could also be assessments and surcharges, and they could be imprisoned from one year to 25 years.

A knowledgeable attorney could help someone understand any punishments they may face for a DUI in Charleston.

Administrative Consequences in Charleston

In addition to the criminal penalties imposed by state DUI law, administrative penalties that affect a defendant’s license and other rights will be imposed. These may include automatic suspension of a driver’s license, even before a conviction occurs.

A drug or alcohol test may be required, and failure to consent can result in a suspension of a driver’s license. The defendant may also be expected to attend substance abuse classes as part of their conviction. These and other penalties can affect the defendant’s ability to work and live life as before. Any defendant who wants to learn more about potential administrative consequences of a DUI charge should contact a diligent Charleston attorney right away.

Contact an Attorney about Charleston DUI Penalties Now

These consequences are significant and can greatly harm your quality of life, your finances, and your freedoms. Defending against the prosecutor’s charges is an essential step in protecting your rights.

Charleston DUI penalties can impact your life in severe ways without the help of a skilled legal team. Contact our office today to get started defending your rights.