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Sentence Enhancements for DUI in South Carolina

South Carolina has a DUI sentence enhancement statute for child endangerment. A person who is over 18 years of age and operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with one or more passengers under the age of 16 in the car when the violation occurs will be guilty of child endangerment. A person who is convicted of a DUI can also be convicted of child endangerment. The sentence for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child under the age of 16 in the car is:

- A fine of up to 1/2 of the DUI charge

- Imprisonment of up to ½ of the maximum jail time for the DUI charge

- License suspension of 60 days

- Not allowed to apply for a provisional license or enroll in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program for at least 60 days

South Carolina has a sentence enhancement if the driver gets into an accident that causes great bodily injury to the other driver/passengers. A person who operates a vehicle while under the influence and cause great bodily injury to another, will be charged with a felony. Great bodily injury is defined as bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or which causes serious or permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. A person charged with a felony for causing great bodily injury will be sentenced to:

- Fine between $5,100 and $10,100

- Imprisonment between 30 days and 15 years

A person charged with a felony for causing great bodily injury when death results will be sentenced to:

- Fine between $10,100 and $25,100

- Imprisonment between one year and 25 years

South Carolina also has a habitual offender statute. In South Carolina, a habitual offender means that a person has three or more convictions for a DUI during a three-year period. If a person is a habitual offender, the punishment shall be:

- Revoke or suspend the person’s driver’s license for at least 5 years

- Ask the person to surrender his driver’s license or permit to the Department of Motor Vehicles

South Carolina has different punishments depending on what the driver’s blood alcohol content was. A driver will be considered under the influence of alcohol that impairs their ability to drive if they have a blood alcohol content of at least .08%. A driver will be punished if their blood alcohol content was between .08 and .09%.

Drivers who operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .10% and .15% have enhanced punishments. If a driver has a blood alcohol content between .10% and 0.16% the driver will be sentenced to:

- License Suspension of 6 months

- Fine of $500

- Jail time between 72 hours to 30 days (OR 78 hours of public service employment)

- Enroll and complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program

There will be harsher punishments if a driver has a blood alcohol content over .16%. If a driver has a blood alcohol content above .16%, the sentence will be:

- License Suspension of 6 months

- Fine of $1,000

- Jail time between 30 days and 90 days (OR 30 days of public service employment)

There will also be a harsh punishment if an intoxicated driver has a child in the car. A person who is over 18 years of age and operates a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with one or more passengers under the age of 16 in the car when the violation occurs will be guilty of child endangerment. A person who is convicted of a DUI can also be convicted of child endangerment. The sentence for operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child under the age of 16 in the car is:

- A fine of up to 1/2 of the DUI charge

- Imprisonment of up to ½ of the maximum jail time for the DUI charge

- License suspension of 60 days

- Not allowed to apply for a provisional license or enroll in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program for at least 60 days


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