As in most states, South Carolina has harsh penalties for those who drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. FindLaw defines the driver as impaired and driving under the influence when their blood alcohol content is at 0.08% or higher. It may also be inferred that a driver is under the influence if they have a blood alcohol content between 0.05% and 0.08% and there is other evidence they are operating a vehicle under the influence, which is a DUI charge.
Another charge associated with driving is DUAC, or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration. This requires no evidence that the driver was impaired to convict if the BAC is 0.08% or higher, where the DUI charge does require proof of impairment.
According to the South Carolina Legislature, the state is an implied consent one. This means that drivers automatically give consent for blood, urine or breath testing to determine if drugs or alcohol are present. Drivers can face a six-month license suspension if they refuse testing. A nine-month suspension is common in anyone who has a suspension or conviction related to alcohol in the ten years before the incident.
The state also has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to anyone driving under the influence before they are of legal drinking age, or 21. A license can be automatically suspended for anywhere from three to six months if a driver has a BAC of over 0.02% and is under 21.
The criminal penalties for driving under the influence depend on if the driver is a habitual offender and the severity of the incident. Anyone facing a criminal charge may benefit from meeting with a criminal defense attorney.