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Charleston Personal Injury Lawyers / Blog / DUI Accidents / South Carolina Drunk Driving Laws

South Carolina Drunk Driving Laws

Alcohol and driving do not mix. People who are drunk lack many of the functions necessary for safe driving, including good concentration, motor skills, judgment, and alertness. Drinking while driving increases the risk of serious and sometimes fatal accidents.

As a result of this danger, drunk driving is extremely illegal in South Carolina. Any person who is caught committing this crime could face severe penalties, and injured victims have the right to hold drunk drivers accountable.

What Is the Legal Blood Alcohol Limit in South Carolina?

Under South Carolina law, it is illegal for anyone to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that his or her faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired.

Generally, the state will assume that a driver is impaired if he or she has a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. If the driver’s blood alcohol content is between 0.05% and 0.08%, the state will use this fact alongside other evidence to determine whether the driver was under the influence.

What Is the Penalty for Drinking and Driving in South Carolina?

A drunk driving conviction carries significant penalties that could have a major impact on a driver’s life. These penalties depend on the driver’s previous record and whether a bodily injury or death occurs.

  • For a first offense, the driver would face a fine of up to $400; between 48 hours to 30 days in prison; and/or a six-month driver’s license suspension.

  • For a second offense, the driver would face a fine between $2,100 to $5,100, imprisonment between five days to one year, and a one-year driver’s license suspension.

  • For a third offense, the driver would face between $3,800 to $6,300 in fines, between 60 days to three years in prison, and a two-year driver’s license suspension.

  • For a fourth or subsequent offense, the driver would face between one to five years in prison and the permanent revocation of his or her driver’s license.

  • If great bodily injury occurs in the drunk driving accident, the driver will face a mandatory fine between $5,100 to $10,000 and between 30 days to 15 years in prison.

  • If death occurs in the drunk driving accident, the driver will face a mandatory fine between $10,100 and $25,100 and between one to 25 years in prison.

What Legal Remedies Are Available for Drunk Driving Victims?

In addition to criminal proceedings, the victims of drunk driving accidents have the right to pursue civil lawsuits against the at-fault motorist. While criminal charges are intended to punish the perpetrator, lawsuits allow victims to recover financial compensation for the losses that they suffered in the accident.

Below are some of the most common damages available in a drunk driving lawsuit:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and loss of future earnings
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

Consult with a South Carolina Drunk Driving Accident Attorney

If you were injured in an accident with a drunk driver, you deserve justice. A South Carolina drunk driving accident attorney can fight for your rights and help you secure the financial compensation that you need to recover.

As soon as possible following your accident, call the police and seek medical attention. Then, contact an attorney who can represent your case to discuss your legal options.

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