The number .08 holds significance for many in Florence. That is the blood-alcohol concentration that is almost universally accepted as the standard for determining whether one is legally drunk. Like many of those that we here at the Parham Law Firm, LLC have worked with in the past, you probably assume that if that number is associated with your name, a DUI charge is forthcoming. South Carolina, however, is unique from several other states in the fact that the .08 BAC level is not exclusively associated with DUI.
As a matter of fact, that number does not even officially correlate to the state’s actual DUI law. Rather, the .08 BAC concentration is linked to another charge: Driving With Unlawful Alcohol Concentration. Per Section 56-5-2933 of South Carolina’s Code of Laws, a charge of DUAC can only be brought if the prosecution has proof that you registered a BAC reading of .08 or more. Furthermore, a DUAC charge cannot arise from a stop at a drivers’ license checkpoint or a police roadblock. Rather, the law enforcement officer that arrests you has to have had probable cause to stop you for suspicion of DUI. The test that yielded your .08 BAC reading must also have been administered within two hours of your arrest for you to be charged with DUAC.
How does this differ from a DUI charge? To be charged with DUI in South Carolina, you have to have been shown to be impaired by either alcohol or drugs, or a combination of the two. Nowhere in the state’s DUI statute does it mention the .08 BAC level. Your BAC level can be used to support a DUI charge, but you cannot be charged with both DUI and DUAC for the same offense.
More information on the state’s drunk driving laws can be found here on our site.