South Carolina DWI penalties

Summer is right around the corner. You will have almost three months to unwind from a stressful spring semester. There will be camping trips, afternoons on the river, and the occasional party. What if, while on your way home from a summer party, a police officer pulls you over? What if you are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI)?

If you are a college student and you receive a DWI conviction, you could face some very severe penalties in addition to a possible school suspension and loss of financial aid. Fortunately, there might be a defense available to you to fight the charges. An experienced criminal defense attorney in the Florence area can help you fight back against a DWI charge. Read further to find more about DWI penalties in South Carolina.

Civil penalties

DWI penalties directly relate to your offense. The more severe your DWI offense is, the harsher the penalties you will face. The penalties also correspond to the number of DWI convictions that are on your record. Furthermore, since South Carolina follows the principles of "implied consent," you might face more penalties if you refuse to take a chemical test. This is because, under the "implied consent" law, simply by driving a vehicle you give your consent to one of these tests.

If you fail or refuse to take a chemical test, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will more than likely suspend or revoke your driver's license. A first offense with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.08 and 0.14 percent will get you a six-month suspension. If your BAC was 0.15 percent or higher, or it was a second or third offense, the DMV can suspend your license for an indefinite period of time.

In addition to your license suspension, you will also have to complete a substance abuse course through the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. You can also expect a minimum $100 fee to reinstate your license.

Criminal penalties

After a DWI conviction, you will face criminal penalties in addition to the civil penalties described above. These penalties depend on the results of your BAC test. If the court convicts you of a first offense and your BAC was less than 0.16 percent, then you will receive a $400 fine and possible jail time ranging from 48 hours up to 30 days. You may also have to do 48 hours of community service in addition to, or in lieu of, jail time.

A second offense DWI could land you with up to $5,100 in fines and five days to one year in jail. With a third offense, you could face 60 days to three years in jail and fines ranging up to $6,300.

South Carolina takes DWI offenses very seriously. A conviction on your record could damage your college career and cost you a significant amount of time and money.

Source: Nov. 30, -0001

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