It is important to note that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
That said, if a person is convicted of a DUI, the defendant’s punishments will depend on the state’s sentencing laws. Oftentimes, there will be a gradient of punishments, depending on if this is the first time a DUI offense was committed or not. The punishments will include both criminal penalties and administrative penalties from the DMV.
In South Carolina:
- A first time offender with a BAC of 0.08% or above will most likely have their license suspended for 6 months, pay a fine of $400, and serve a minimum of 48 hours or a maximum of 30 days in jail and/or 48 hours of community service at the discretion of the sentencing judge.
- A second time offender could face having their license suspended indefinitely, a fine of anywhere between $2,100 and $5,100, and a jail sentence between 5 days and 1 year.
- A 3rd offense may be subject to a fine between $3,800 and $6,300, between 60 days and 3 years in jail. Their driving license might be suspended indefinitely.
- A 4th and all subsequent offenses can lead to a fine to be determined by the court, a minimum of 1 year in jail and a maximum of 5 years in jail.
- A BAC over 0.16% will result in higher fines and longer jail sentences.
- On the second offense and every subsequent offense, the offender will be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. This is mounted to the dashboard and will require them to take a breathalyzer test every time they wish to drive. The defendant will be responsible for the installation and maintenance costs of the device.
A driver convicted of a DUI will need to pay a reinstatement fee, acquire a special insurance, and pass an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program, a knowledge test and a driving skills test to reinstate their license. The charges listed above are under the assumption that the driver did not commit property damage or inflict bodily harm or death to other people as a result of their actions. In those cases, the charges would be much more substantial.