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For those curious about South Carolina’s DUI laws, this page provides an overview of the various misdemeanor and felony DUI laws in SC. What is commonly referred to as “drunk driving” can be found in two statutes under South Carolina law: S.C. Code of Laws Sections 56-5-2933 [Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration] and 56-5-2930 [Driving Under the Influence]. 

Section 56-5-2930 outlines the elements of Driving Under the Influence [DUI] which, in short, is defined as driving a motor vehicle within this state while under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired. 

Section 56-5-2933 outlines the elements of Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration [DUAC] which is defined as driving a motor vehicle while having an alcohol concentration of eight one-hundredths of one percent or more (.08 or above). 

While both DUI and DUAC carry the same penalties, the main difference between the two is that DUAC does not require the driver to be impaired. In other words, a driver who can still drive safely or show no signs of impairment can be charged with DUAC if their blood alcohol concentration is .08 or more.

Whether you are charged with DUI or DUAC, South Carolina law requires the arrested driver to submit to breath and/or blood or urine testing. If a driver refuses to provide a sample, then their driver’s license can be suspended for six months. However, if a driver gives a sample that is fifteen one-hundredths percent or more (.15 or above) then their license may only be suspended for one month. 

If a driver refuses to submit to breath, blood, and/or urine testing and their license is suspended as a result, then the driver may request an Administrative Hearing within thirty (30) days. Once a request is made and a hearing date is scheduled, a driver may take the scheduling notice to the DMV and request a Temporary Alcohol License [TAL]. This license is just like their regular license and allows the driver to drive anywhere day or night. However, if their suspension is upheld at the Administrative Hearing, then their license returns to being suspended.

Drivers may also be charged with DUI if drugs, whether legal or illegal, are found to be in their system. For example, a driver charged with DUI can provide a breath sample of 0.00 but provide a urine sample that tests positive for marijuana. 

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