In South Carolina, you are law prohibited from driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that your faculties are materially and appreciably impaired. Also, if you have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, you are driving under the influence.
In addition, if you have a BAC that is at least 0.05 percent but less than 0.08 percent, your BAC level may be considered along with other evidence to infer that you are under the influence.
If you are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, you face:
A fine of up to $400. The actual number is more like $992 with assessments and surcharges.
Imprisonment from 48 hours to 30 days. The minimum forty-eight hour imprisonment or public service employment must be served at a time when you are off work so it does not interfere with your regular employment.
In lieu of the forty-eight hour minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for forty-eight hours of public service employment.
Suspension of your driver's license for six months for a first offense.
BAC of .08 or above:
If you are convicted of driving with an unlawful blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher, you face the same penalties as you would for a DUI conviction (see above).
If you refuse to submit to BAC testing, you face an automatic 90-day suspension of your driving privileges if you are 21 or older.
A first time offender under 21 who drives with a BAC greater than 0.02 percent faces an automatic suspension of driver's license for three months. If you are under 21 and refuse to consent to BAC testing, your driver's license will be automatically suspended for six months.
To reinstate driving privileges, the driver must obtain SR-22 insurance for 3 years (at a substantially higher rate than normal insurance premiums).
Temporary and Restricted Licenses:
A temporary alcohol restricted license allows the person to drive without any restrictive conditions pending the outcome of the administrative hearing.
If the suspension is upheld at the administrative hearing, the temporary alcohol restricted license remains in effect until the Department sends notice to you that the license is suspended. Afterward, you may apply for a special restricted driver's license if you are employed or enrolled in a college or university. The special restricted license permits driving only to and from work and school and in the course of work or school. To obtain this "route restricted" driver's license, the driver must also show the Department that work or school is further than one mile from the driver's home and that there is no adequate public transportation in between.
Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
If you are convicted of DUI, you must successfully complete the Department's Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP) before they can be eligible for re-licensing by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety.
When you enroll, you will be assessed to determine the problem areas that contributed to your DUI. Goals will be developed to address these problem areas. Education and/or treatment services will be provided to help you reduce your risk of committing another violation. Successful completion of the program is based on whether you have reduced your risk.
Because you will receive services based on individual needs, the time period for ADSAP varies for each person. While most people complete the program by the end of their suspension period, it could take you up to 12 months.
The DMV will not reinstate your driver's license until it is notified of your successful completion of ADSAP.
The fee for educational services provided through ADSAP is $500. Treatment services required by the program can cost up to $2,000. The total cost for all services - educational and treatment - will not exceed $2,500