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Misdemeanor vs. felony DUI in South Carolina

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2020 | Dui/dwi |

South Carolina may charge driving under the influence as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the circumstances of your case. In both cases, the state mandates jail time even for the first offense.

Review the possible penalties for DUI in South Carolina before facing a court date for this type of offense.

Misdemeanor DUI

This charge applies if you had a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher at the time of arrest, or if you showed impairment with BAD of 0.05% or higher. If you have no prior offenses, you could receive:

  • 48 hours to 30 days and jail
  • Up to $991 in fines and court fees
  • Driver’s license suspension for six months

Higher penalties apply for subsequent offenses within 10 years of the first. For a second offense, fines can approach $11,000, with a 12-month license suspension and between five days and 12 months in jail. In addition to jail time, license suspension and fines, a third offense within a decade results in motor vehicle confiscation by the state.

Felony DUI

You will receive felony charges in South Carolina for a DUI incident involving serious injury or death of another person. For a serious injury, penalties may include:

  • 30 days to 15 years in prison
  • Up to $21,000 in fines and court fees

Wrongful death in a DUI case carries one to 25 years in prison and fines of up to $52,000.

With either a misdemeanor or felony, you can receive additional penalties for having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle or for refusing a breath test at the scene.


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