Nothing can spoil a vacation more than getting pulled over for drunk driving. For vacationers flocking to South Carolina’s pristine beaches, the last thing they want to worry about is getting on the wrong side of the law.
No matter where or when it happens, an out-of-state DUI conviction can negatively impact a person’s life for quite some time. Unfortunately, unlike that sun-kissed tan, the effects of a DUI will not fade away when you return home. A drunk driving conviction will remain on an individual’s record, and license suspension can inhibit their ability to get a job, drive to work or school, or go about daily life.
It is important to understand the law in South Carolina for DUI charges, and to get knowledgeable legal counsel serving the Myrtle Beach area in order to mount an effective defense that protects your rights and will allow you to go on with your life as quickly as possible.
Implied consent laws
Under implied consent laws in all 50 states, driving on a public road is considered a privilege, not a right. A license is a permit to drive, and in exchange for this permission, the driver implicitly agrees to submit to a chemical or breath test if law enforcement suspects that they are driving under the influence.
While you may refuse to participate in in South Carolina field sobriety tests with no consequence, refusing a breathalyzer test in is not a criminal offense, but it will result in an automatic six-month license suspension.
Penalties for DUI in South Carolina
Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.08% or higher in the Palmetto State is considered DUI, while a BAC of between 0.05% and 0.08% can result in a DUI with supporting evidence. The penalties for a first-time DUI can include fines of $400, imprisonment of up to 30 days and license suspension of up to six months.
Most states are part of the Driver License Compact, which is a database that exchanges information on traffic violations that applies home state laws to out-of-state offenses.
Possible defenses of a DUI
When developing a defense strategy against DUI charges, an investigation will uncover the reasons the officer stopped the individual, how they administered the sobriety tests, what the patrol car’s dashcam recorded, as well as whether the officer properly gave the suspect their Miranda Rights. Any discrepancies in procedure could result in charges being reduced or dropped, but it is essential to have legal representation that understands South Carolina law when fighting charges.