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Minors and DUI in South Carolina

South Carolina has a special statute for any minor who operates a vehicle while under the influence of a certain amount of alcohol concentration. The Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend any driver’s license or permit to any minor who drives a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .02% or higher. A person under the age of 21 who drives a motor vehicle in the state is considered to have given consent to chemical tests of their breath or blood for the purpose to determine the alcohol content. An officer can arrest a person under the age of twenty-one if the officer has reasonable suspicion that the person has consumed alcoholic beverages and has driven a motor vehicle. The officer may then order the testing of a person arrested to determine the person’s alcohol concentration.

The testing of a person’s breath, blood or urine must be administered at the direction of the arresting officer. The person must first be offered a breath test to determine the alcohol concentration. If the person is physically unable to provide an acceptable breath sample test because he has an injured mouth or is unconscious or dead, a blood sample may be taken. If the results of the chemical test indicate an alcohol concentration of .02% or more, the punishment will be for three months:

- suspension of the minor’s license

- deny any issuance of a license or permit

If a person under the age of 21 refuses a chemical test, their license will be suspended for six months. If the DUI is the second offense for a person within a five year period, and refuse chemical tests, their license will be suspended for one-year.

When a driver is under 21 and their blood alcohol concentration is .08% or higher, they will be arrested and prosecuted as someone over 21.


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