DUI HILTON HEAD, SC

Hilton Head DUI Defense Attorneys

Comprehensive DUI Defense Strategies in South Carolina

In South Carolina, it is illegal to operate any type of motor vehicle—including a car, truck, or boat—with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or above. However, you can be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) if the arresting officer decides that you are “materially and appreciably” impaired, regardless of your actual BAC.

A DUI conviction can have a serious, far-reaching impact on your life. You could face time in jail, thousands of dollars in fines, and will likely lose your driver’s license for six months to a year or more. Not to mention, being convicted of DUI can lead to significant reputational repercussions.

At Bauer & Metro, P.C., we understand the gravity of your situation. If you have been arrested for DUI, you should know that you can fight back against your charges—and our team can help. We bring decades of experience to our practice of law, as well as a long history of success in defending everyday people against serious criminal charges

Ready to Defend Your Rights? Contact Our Hilton Head DUI Lawyers Today(843) 920-2844 or reach out online for a Free Consultation.

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What Is Considered DUI in South Carolina? 

In South Carolina, DUI is defined as operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both to the extent that it renders the person incapable of driving safely. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for drivers over 21 years old is 0.08%. For drivers under 21, any measurable amount of alcohol can result in a DUI charge.

It is crucial to note that DUI laws apply not only to alcohol but also to the use of drugs, including prescription medications and illegal substances. Law enforcement officers may conduct field sobriety tests and chemical tests, such as breathalyzer or blood tests, to determine if a driver is impaired.

The Impact of a DUI on Your Driving Privileges

A DUI conviction can have significant consequences for your driving privileges. Notably, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for a period of six months to one year or more, meaning you will be unable to drive yourself to work, school, errands, and other places. The length of the driver's license suspension varies depending on the number of offenses and other factors. 

For a first-time DUI offense, the license suspension typically lasts for six months. However, after 30 days, you may be eligible for a temporary Alcohol Restricted Driver's License, allowing limited driving privileges for work, school, or treatment purposes.

Second- and third-time offenders face longer suspensions of anywhere from nine months to one year or longer. In these cases, individuals may also be eligible for a temporary Alcohol Restricted Driver's License after the specified period.

Additionally, South Carolina law requires the installation of an ignition interlock device upon license reinstatement for second and subsequent offenses. This device requires you to pass a breathalyzer test before starting your vehicle. 

  • First Offense
    • Typically charged as a misdemeanor
    • 48 hours to 1 year in jail
    • $400 to $1,000 in fines
    • Six-month driver's license suspension (eligible for temporary Alcohol Restricted Driver's License after 30 days after meeting all requirements)
    • Completion of the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP)
  • Second Offense
    • Typically charged as a misdemeanor
    • Minimum five days up to three years in jail
    • Fines ranging from $2,100 to $6,500
    • Nine-month driver's license suspension
    • Required enrollment in ADSAP
    • Mandatory ignition interlock device installation for two years upon license reinstatement
  • Third Offense
    • Typically charged as a felony
    • Minimum 60 days up to 5 years in jail
    • Fine ranging from $3,800 to $10,000
    • One-year driver's license suspension
    • Required enrollment in ADSAP
    • Mandatory ignition interlock device installation for three to four years upon license reinstatement

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Reinstating a Driver's License & Appealing a Suspension

After serving the required suspension period, you can begin the process of reinstating your driver's license. This typically involves paying a reinstatement fee, providing proof of completion of required programs (ADSAP), and meeting any other conditions imposed by the court. 

Note that South Carolina does not automatically reinstate your license after the suspension period ends. You will need to proactively reinstate your driver’s license with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to be able to lawfully drive again. 

If you believe that your driver's license suspension was unjustly or incorrectly imposed, you have the right to appeal the decision. You must file an appeal with the appropriate authorities no more than 30 days after your arrest. It is strongly advised that you consult with an experienced DUI defense attorney, like ours at Bauer & Metro, P.C., who can guide you through the appeal process and represent your best interests.

South Carolina DUI Laws for Minors

South Carolina has zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. For drivers under 21 years old, any measurable amount of alcohol in their system can result in a DUI charge. Typically, this is measured as a BAC of at least 0.02%. 

The penalties for underage DUI convictions include:

  • Driver's license suspension for three months on the first offense (if BAC is under 0.08%)
  • Six-month to one-year suspension for subsequent offenses (if BAC is under 0.08%) 
  • Required enrollment in ADSAP 
  • Possible community service and fines

If a minor is arrested with a BAC of 0.08% or above, they are essentially treated as an adult and face the same charges and penalties as any other motorist arrested for DUI in South Carolina. 

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  • Legal Expertise
    Bauer & Metro are recognized in the legal community for their knowledge in their specialized fields.
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    As frequent lecturers for legal education, Bauer & Metro are dedicated to educating both lawyers and judges. 

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    Local favorite & locally focused, Bauer & Metro are proud to serve the community in which they live.

Contact Our Hilton Head DUI Lawyers Today for a Free & Confidential Consultation 

Many people who are arrested for DUI don’t realize that they can fight back against these charges. But the fact is, many DUI arrests are done improperly. Traffic stops are often not warranted, evidence can be incorrectly gathered, and the results of a field sobriety, breathalyzer, or chemical test may be flawed. 

It is crucial that you work with an experienced attorney after being charged with DUI in Hilton Head or anywhere in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Our team knows how to challenge evidence gathered by law enforcement and fight to help you avoid the consequences of a conviction.

Get in touch with us now at (843) 920-2844 or submit a secure online contact form to request a free case evaluation with one of our Hilton Head DUI defense attorneys.

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