The drunk driving laws in South Carolina include two statutes, DUI and DUAC, which may be confusing. While you may face serious consequences for driving after drinking alcohol or using drugs, there are unique penalties that exist for different types of convictions. In South Carolina, the difference between DUI and DUAC charges depends mostly on blood alcohol content levels.
According to FindLaw, it is illegal for you to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You may incur a DUI charge if you show that drug or alcohol consumption has impaired your faculties to a material and appreciable extent. In many cases, a police officer may require you to complete a sobriety or blood alcohol content test if he or she pulls you over for driving under the influence. According to state law, driving in South Carolina implies that you give consent to submit to testing (through blood, breath or urine) for alcohol and drugs. If you refuse to take a BAC test, you may lose your license for at least 6 months.
Whether you receive a DUI or a DUAC charge usually depends on your BAC level. If your BAC is between 0.05% and 0.08%, a DUI conviction may require both the test results and other evidence of impairment. However, if you are driving with a BAC of 0.08% or more, the DUAC (driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration) statue considers you to be under the influence regardless of whether there is other evidence of impairment. Your first DUI or DUAC conviction may incur penalties such as fines, jail time and/or revocation of your license. You may face more significant penalties for each subsequent offense.
This overview of DUI and DUAC laws is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.