Not only is drinking and driving in South Carolina unsafe, it can also land in quite a bit of legal trouble. Punishments often include suspension of license, fines, and even jail time in serious cases. Very Well Mind explains what usually happens after a person is arrested for drunk driving. 

Initial arrest

When you’re arrested, you’ll be given a field sobriety test or breathalyzer. From there you’ll be taken to the nearest police station and booked. Your fingerprints and mug shot will be taken, and you’ll be placed in a holding cell until you’re released. In most cases, you’ll be released when the arresting officer deems it safe, which usually occurs when you sober up. You’ll also need to contact a friend or family member to pick you up from the station. 

Court appearance

During your court appearance, you get to plead guilty or not guilty. If you plan on pleading not guilty, be aware that it can be very difficult to make this case if there’s evidence against you. For instance, breathalyzer results will establish your level of inebriation and whether you breached the legal driving limit. Also, law enforcement can present dash cam or body cam footage showing the field sobriety test.


It’s likely you’ll be required to pay a fine. First-time offenders are usually subject to minimum drunk driving fines, although if property damage or injuries occur that amount is likely to increase. You may also lose your license. The duration of a suspension can also vary and in some cases, you may be able to request driving privileges just to get to and from work. Jail time is also possible, and it typically depends on the severity of the offense. You’ll also be subject to a probationary period.