Do you live in South Carolina full time? Perhaps, you don't, but visit here annually to vacation at Myrtle Beach or another popular tourist location every summer. Either way, if you're enjoying fun in the sun or some other adventure with family and friends, chances are you're going to either ride in a car or drive one to get there. That said, many summer gatherings include alcoholic beverages, which can be a real game changer if you do plan operate a motor vehicle.
Do you know that DUI laws vary by state? Therefore, if you are an out-of-state resident just visiting temporarily, you may want to research state regulations before getting on the road. Surprisingly, there are also many permanent residents who aren't really up-to-date on current DUI laws. This can lead to a whole host of problems for someone who imbibes, then gets pulled over in a traffic stop.
Keep this in mind if you drive in South Carolina
If you happen to get pulled over by police and refuse to submit to a legally required breath test, you can plan on being without your driver's license for six months. That's because there's an implied consent law in this state that activates an automatic driver's license suspension any time someone refuses a lawful request for a breath test. Lawful breath tests are typically administered at the police station. Roadside breath tests are not required and can be politely declined.
Following, are some other basic DUI laws that exist in the state:
- If you submit to a chemical test and results show your blood alcohol content level is .08 or above, the court can hand down a DUI conviction against you without any further evidence that you were impaired if police stopped you while driving. This is known as Driving With an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC).
- If you happen to be under age 21 and your blood alcohol level is .02 or above, you can lose your license for three to six months.
- Do you drive a commercial truck for a living? If so, your blood alcohol content level needs to test below .04 to be in the clear. Otherwise, you won't be able to operate commercial trucks for a year if convicted of DUI, no matter what vehicle you were driving at the time police pulled you over.
The penalties you may face from a conviction can be quite severe. If you're charged with DUI, it not only might ruin your South Carolina vacation (or summer in general, if you live here year-round) it can negatively impact your family life and professional reputation as well. In fact, your job may be in jeopardy even without a conviction since going back and forth to court appointments takes time, and some employers may tire of having to adjust the schedule on your behalf.
If you face charges for DUI, however, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll be convicted. Many people avoid conviction by relying on experienced and aggressive legal representation in court.