How much will a DUI really cost you?

South Carolina residents who are taken to court on DUI-related charges have a lot to consider, and a lot to potentially lose. You may not realize it, but charges related to drinking and driving can cover a wide range depending on the crime committed. In fact, you may be facing a heftier penalty than you expected.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) has a document containing the state laws relating to DUI penalties for your perusal. First, you should know the state operates on a "zero tolerance" law, in which having a .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) or higher will automatically land you with DUI charges.

Being convicted of driving under the influence will get you a number of penalties that change based on how many prior offenses you've had. First time offenders will usually get a $400 fine maximum. You may also get jail time lasting from 48 hours up to 30 days. Finally, you will have your license suspended for 6 months.

Second time offenses will get $2,100 to $5,000 in fines and up to a year in prison. You'll also have a suspended license for one year. The penalties will increase until you hit your fourth offense. Four or more offenses will get you a possible 5-year prison sentence and will result in the permanent revocation of your driver's license.

These fines can be hefty, and having to serve jail time or live without your license will seriously impact your daily life. For these reasons, seeking professional legal advice may be in your best interest.

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