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South Carolina DUI Laws

In South Carolina, it is illegal for a person to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. A person will be convicted of a DUI if they drive a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s ability to drive is impaired.  To be convicted, the person must:

(1) operate a vehicle

(2) under the influence of alcohol that impairs the person’s ability to drive

(3) with a blood alcohol content of .08 grams or more

Blood alcohol content is defined as the level of intoxication and provides a measurement of impairment. A person can still be arrested for a DUI even if they do not have a BAC of .08. If the driver is under other intoxicating substances that are found to impair him/her to the point of not driving safely, the driver could still be charged with a DUI. If the driver is found to be driving while under the influence of an intoxicating substance, their BAC does not need to reach the legal limit of .08. The State must prove that the driver’s BAC was above .08%. This can be shown by breathalyzer results, field sobriety test results, observations of witnesses as to your behavior and any statements that the driver made to the police. Under South Carolina law, videotaping of the incident location and the breathalyzer site is mandatory. The driver’s attorney can obtain the videos before the trial begins.  The videotape will show the behavior of the police and whether the police followed proper procedures during the administration of field sobriety tests and breathalyzer.

If an officer stops a driver because the officer has reasonable suspicion to believe the driver was driving under the influence of drugs, the officer may request for a urine test to be administered.

The driver does not have to take the test or give the samples to be tested. If the driver refuses to take the tests, his privilege to drive will be suspended for at least six month, and the information could be used in court against him.

In South Carolina, a person can be arrested for driving under the influence based on the person’s driving ability. If the arresting officer can prove that the person driving was not able to drive safely due to the presence of alcohol or drugs in their system, the officer can arrest you. As long as the arresting officer has reasonable suspicion that you were operating a vehicle under the influence to impair your ability, you can be arrested. If a person is stopped because they’re under enough influence to impair their driving ability, their BAC can be below .08%.

South Carolina does have statutes with harsher punishments if you are found to have a higher BAC than .08%. If you are arrested and have a BAC of above .08% you will be subjected to stricter penalties than just being arrested for driving under the influence just based on your driving ability.

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