The criminal justice system often views a third DUI offense as evidence of a serious, repeated problem that presents a risk to the general public. As a result, the consequences for such an offense are severe. An experienced criminal defense attorney could explain possible Charleston third-offense DUI penalties and work to mitigate the negative impact of a conviction on a defendant’s life. If you are facing charges, reach out to a seasoned third-offense DUI lawyer today.

Suspension of License After a Third DUI

There are two ways a person may have their driver’s license suspended when faced with a third-offense DUI charge.

One way is under South Carolina’s Implied Consent law. If the defendant refuses the Breathalyzer test, and they have two prior DUI convictions within the last ten years, their license could be suspended for 12 months. Alternatively, they could have an Ignition Interlock Device installed on their car for the duration of the suspension period at the cost of around $2,000.

The other way a third-offense DUI defendant could have their driver’s license suspended is if they are convicted of DUI. A third-time conviction for a DUI defendant, when the prior two convictions are within ten years, would result in a driver’s license suspension of three years or a mandatory IID for the same period. A third-offense conviction for a DUI defendant where the prior two convictions are within five years would result in a driver’s license suspension of four years.

Applying for a Restricted License

Drivers may apply for a restricted license after being charged with a third-offense DUI in Charleston. However, the only restricted license that they can obtain is the Ignition Interlock Device license, which requires that an IID be installed on their car at all times during the suspension period.

Penalty Enhancements for a Third DUI Offense

The Charleston third-offense DUI penalties are significantly increased from a first DUI charge, and the amount of jail time may extend to up to five years in prison. Certain aggravating factors may also increase the penalties associated with a third DUI conviction.

Blood Alcohol Content

If a person charged with a third-offense DUI has a blood alcohol content of less than 0.10, they may face a fine between $3,800 and $6,300, along with 60 days mandatory minimum in jail up to three years in jail. If the arrestee’s blood alcohol content is between 0.10 and 0.16, they may face a fine between $5,000 and $7,500 and a mandatory minimum 90 days in jail, with the possibility of four years in prison.

If their blood alcohol content in their third-offense DUI is 0.16 or greater, their fine amount is $7,500 up to $10,000 and a mandatory minimum of six months in prison up to five years in jail.

The blood alcohol content has no impact on the driver’s license suspension for a conviction. It does, however, impact the potential penalties a defendant faces if they are ultimately found in violation of South Carolina’s Implied Consent Law.

A Lawyer Could Help Defendants Facing Charleston Third-Time DUI Penalties

Someone facing Charleston third-offense DUI penalties should look for a lawyer with local experience. Simply by being charged and accused of DUI, they may be at risk subject to years of prison time, substantial fines and fees, and potential loss of license. An experienced DUI lawyer could carefully review a defendant’s case, quickly initiate an investigation into time-sensitive matters, and begin building a defense strategy.