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SC DUI Laws: How to Get a Suspended License Reinstated

South Carolina DUI laws are highly complex. Those facing a DUI in SC will need immediate assistance from legal counsel. This page focuses on our most common client questions, which center around: “Do you lose your license after a DUI in the Palmetto State?”

For those asking, “does your license get suspended for first DUI,” that answer is YES, if you lose your case. Also unique to DUI cases, your ability to drive hinges on both a good outcome at the administrative license hearing (which is civil law, in nature) as well as the result in fighting the criminal DUI charges.

Whether that means hiring a top-rated criminal defense attorney depends upon your ability to pay. Our firm offers most criminal law clients an initial consultation and a legal fee payment plan, too.

Your driver's license gets suspended after a DUI arrest in SC. You may be able to still drive legally with an ignition interlock device.

These FIVE similar Q&A inquiries are common at our law firm office in South Carolina:

  1. Does your license get suspended for DUI? Yes, subject to several exceptions and other rules, as outlined below.
  2. Do you lose your license immediately after a DUI conviction in South Carolina? Yes, you do, but an interlock restricted permit is usually available, for a 1st offense DUI within ten (10) years.
  3. Can I get a temporary alcohol restricted license SC or provisional license so I can get to and from work?
  4. Do you lose your license for first DUI in SC? Yes, you do, but for how long and under what limited driving rules depend on several case-specific factors.
  5. How likely is it that the South Carolina DUI license suspension get imposed on my SC license?

Those without funds to hire a DUI attorney can request for their criminal court judge to appoint a public defender for that defendant. If you are indigent, you positively DO need legal assistance, so do not think otherwise.

If appointed legal counsel is needed, be aware that most initial criminal court dates will be set out for more than 30 days after the arrest date. If you must continue to drive with a work permit, you have no time to waste, because an administrative license suspension appeal to the South Carolina DMV needs to be filed!

This rule is applicable even for a DUI first offense SC. Remember that if the DMV administrative license hearing is successful, then our client’s driver license suspension terminates immediately! By far, a first offense DUI license suspension is the mildest, as compared to any subsequent offense within ten (10) years.

Are these same rules applicable if I was boating and was cited by the South Carolina Division of Natural Resources? Yes, in SC, the driver’s license and boating license are then both implicated. 

SC DUI laws stipulate your driver's license is suspended after a DUI arrest but you can file an appeal.

DUI South Carolina: Is Your License Suspended Immediately After a DUI?

The short answer is “yes” for:

  • Those with their DUI South Carolina 1st offense who (after their arrest for D.U.I.) refused to submit to testing on the Datamaster, or allow for a blood collection; and

(b) On a first offense DUI, if that driver agreed to submit to the post-arrest testing, and his or her breath alcohol (BAC) content level was 0.15 grams percent or higher when you took the Datamaster breathalyzer test at the station or jail, a 30-day suspension is imposed.

However, because it is your 1st offense DUI in SC, your driver’s license will be temporarily taken away for a month (30 days). Talk with our lawyers for DUI near me, to see under what conditions an interlock restricted license may be obtained.

When it is a SC DUI first offense, these “tested” individuals also have the opportunity (under DUI laws in South Carolina) to challenge the administrative suspension by filing a hearing within the timeframe of 30 days. Requesting an administrative hearing is a wise move for most South Carolina arrestees facing DUI 1st offense SC violation.

The main reason for this advice is that a skilled DUI lawyer can possibly use the “leverage” of having an administrative hearing to try to negotiate an overall resolution to both your DUI criminal and the DUI administrative law case.

So, you need to know how to protect your ability to drive, since your plastic driver’s license was taken as part of your arrest. The State of South Carolina has established a set of rules pertaining to how accused drunk drivers can acquire a temporary alcohol license SC.

Acting Quickly or Suffering a Suspension for Not Filing a SC DMV Appeal Within 30 Days After Arrest

Our Greenville SC DUI lawyers near me Powers Price and James H. Price can help get your driver's license back after a DUI arrest.

In South Carolina, if you are arrested for a DUI offense, the “Implied Consent Suspension” law applies. This means that refusing to take a post-arrest breathalyzer test results in an immediate suspension of your license.

If your South Carolina driver’s license has been suspended or revoked due to a DUI-related charge, you may be able to get it reinstated. You must first meet specific requirements and pay the required fees before filing your reinstatement application with the SC Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This article will provide an overview of the steps needed to optimize a favorable outcome for those facing a possible lifetime criminal record, if convicted.

If you submit to the breath test and register a 0.15 or higher, your license will also be suspended. Refusing to blow into the breathalyzer (after being arrested) for a first DUI offense results in a 6-month suspension. For conviction of a second offense DUI, the suspension is nine (9) months if the arrest date is with 10 years of the first offense. 

If you are found guilty of driving under the influence for the first time, you are likely to face a six-month license suspension. This consequence then leads to the requirement to take the ADSAP class, in order to regain the right to drive in SC. A DUI conviction (in the criminal court part of your case) can lead to yet another suspension of your license.

If your license has been suspended due to a refusal to take a breath test or a result of 0.15 gr. % or higher, you must file a hearing request with the DMV right away if you want to dispute the suspension. After you have filed the hearing request, you may be able to get a Temporary Alcohol License (TAL) that lets you drive without any restrictions until the hearing.

See this page on SC DUI 2nd offense crimes for more in-depth information about a SC DUI second offense. For about a decade, South Carolina has made a 3rd offense DUI (within ten years) a felony DUI charge, and if this is your situation, go to this SC 3rd DUI page.

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