Generally speaking, it is a common understanding that a DUI arrest and subsequent conviction results in a driver's license suspension in South Carolina. But how does our law really operate? Below I will outline how a first offense DUI arrest and subsequent conviction can result in a driver's license suspension in South Carolina.
IMPLIED CONSENT LAW
South Carolina has an "implied consent" law. By driving on the roads of this State, the driver impliedly consents to the testing of his/her breath, blood, or urine if there is cause to believe that person is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two. A breath test must be administered at the direction of law enforcement following a DUI 1st arrest. Generally speaking, a person is not offered a breath test at the roadside. Following an arrest for DUI, the subject is brought to a breath test facility (jail) and offered a breath test. After a 20 minute wait period, the person is offered the opportunity to provide a breath sample.
If the subject (1) refuses the test or (2) provides a sample of .15% or greater, that person's license is suspended. If one refuses the test, the driver's license suspension period is 6 months. If the person takes the test and records a sample of .15% or greater, the suspension period is 1 month. In both situations, that person is eligible for a "temporary alcohol license". This license is similar to a person's regular license except it is only valid in South Carolina (some states may honor this privilege however).
To request a temporary alcohol license, a person will need to fill out the back of the Notice of Suspension (given by the officer) and send the completed Notice of Suspension along with $200.00 to the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings. Once the office receives this form, a hearing will the scheduled and the driver will be informed that he is now eligible for a driving privilege, upon payment of $100.00.
If the suspension is upheld at the administrative hearing, the person will be required to enroll in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program ("ADSAP"), which costs $500.00, before he/she can obtain a "Route Restricted License", which costs $100.00, that will allow the driver to get to and from work. This license will last the driver throughout the remainder of the suspension period. After the suspension period is completed, that person is eligible to obtain full driving privileges again. If the driver wins the administrative hearing, the original driver's license privilege will be restored.
If a person is convicted of a first offense DUI, the suspension period is 6 months. The convicted person is required to enroll in ADSAP before he/she is eligible for a "Provisional License" and before that person is ever offered a driving privilege in this State again. This 6 month suspension is in addition to a criminal fine or jail sentence.
South Carolina DUI laws can be considered quite complicated. There are many steps that need to be taken before a driver can obtain a license following an implied consent suspension. The administrative hearing is very important as well. The DUI charge itself carries numerous penalties that can cause much headache, inconvenience, and long-lasting problems.
If you have been arrested for DUI in Berkeley, Charleston, or Dorchester County, please contact me today for a confidential interview at (843) 761-0610 or through the contact page on this website.
Brady Vannoy is an AV Preeminent Rated attorney who practices DUI defense in the Low Country of South Carolina. He can be reached at (843) 761-0610 or through the contact page on this website. www.vannoylawoffice.com