If you drive a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol, you could face severe consequences under South Carolina law. A conviction will likely result in loss of driving privileges, sharp increases in your motor vehicle insurance rates, high fines, and possible jail time. A Mount Pleasant DUI lawyer may be able to represent you in court and work toward a positive resolution.
An experienced criminal defense attorney could examine the circumstances that led to your arrest, determine what defenses are relevant to your case, and pursue the best defense strategy possible.
DUI and DUAC Charges in Mount Pleasant
South Carolina Code § 56-5-2930 establishes the criminal offense of driving under the influence. Individuals commit this offense when they operate motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs that materially and appreciably impairs their ability to drive.
In certain circumstances, individuals may face criminal charges for driving with an unlawful blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or DUAC. This offense, also referred to as “per se” DUI, occurs under S.C. Code § 56-5-2933 when individuals drive with a BAC of 0.08 percent or more. Since DUAC charges rely on the BAC level of the driver alone, there is no required proof of impairment for a DUAC conviction.
While the two charges sometimes overlap, individuals cannot face both DUI and DUAC charges arising out of the same incident or arrest. However, since a DUAC charge is often more straightforward for prosecutors to pursue based on measurable BAC test results, individuals may face DUAC charges more readily than DUI charges. Regardless, both charges are serious, and defendants should strongly consider enlisting the help of a Mount Pleasant DUI lawyer rather than attempt to defend the case on their own.
Potential Penalties for DUI and DUAC Convictions
DUI and DUAC convictions carry the potential for the same penalties under South Carolina law. Some of these potential penalties may include:
- Incarceration and fines
- Completion of community service hours
- Loss of license
- Completion of an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
For a first offense, individuals can face a fine of up to $400 or incarceration for a period ranging from a minimum of 48 hours to 30 days. If the defendant has a BAC at the time of their arrests that exceeds 0.10 percent, they may be subject to increased minimum periods of imprisonment and higher fines.
Generally, as BAC levels and the number of prior convictions increases, so do the minimum incarceration periods and fines. Someone facing a second or third DUI offense should expect significantly harsher penalties.
Contact a Mount Pleasant DUI Attorney for Advice
The penalties that individuals face for even a first-time DUI or DUAC can be extremely harsh, including incarceration, community service hours, loss of driving privileges, mandatory enrollment in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program, and more.
If you are facing DUI or DUAC charges, getting the advice of a Mount Pleasant DUI lawyer may be highly advisable. Contact an attorney today for effective legal representation.