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2024 How Much Does a DUI Cost in South Carolina?

2024 How Much Does a DUI Cost in South Carolina?
Axelrod & Associates, P.A.

Driving under the influence (DUI) penalties in South Carolina are serious and can have significant financial consequences. In addition to straightforward fines, there are court costs, assessment fees, and legal representation costs.

The financial impact of a DUI can harm more in your life, including the costs of:

  • Required insurance
  • Being unable to work while in jail or prison
  • Reinstating your license
  • Damages to your career or educational opportunities because of a DUI conviction

The most effective way to avoid these criminal penalties and long-term effects of a DUI is to work with a DUI Attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC, who can provide you with a criminal defense.

What Affects the Cost of DUI Fines and Penalties?

The criminal penalties, including fines, will vary based on the unique factors of your DUI arrest. These factors include:

  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level when pulled over
  • How many prior DUI convictions you have had
  • Whether anyone was injured or killed because of a crash that you caused while under the influence
  • How many vehicles you have that must have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed or be covered by SR-22 insurance

Any other aggravating circumstances can also increase penalties.

DUI Fines

The more prior DUI offenses you have, the more severe the penalties against you become. Fines and imprisonment guidelines also differ based on the BAC you registered at the time of arrest. These penalties do not include court costs and assessments. The fines for conviction are:

First Offense Fines

  • BAC less than 0.10%: Fine of $400
  • BAC 0.10-0.15%: Fine of $500
  • BAC 0.16% and up: Fine of $1,000

Second Offense Fines

  • BAC less than 0.10%: Fines between $2,100 and $5,100
  • BAC 0.10-0.15%: Fines between $2,500 and $5,500
  • BAC 0.16% and up: Fines between $3,500 and $6,500

Third Offense Fines

  • BAC less than 0.10%: Fines between $3,800 and $6,300
  • BAC 0.10-0.15%: Fines between $5,000 and $7,500
  • BAC 0.16% and up: Fines between $7,500 and $10,000

Fourth or Additional Offense Penalties

There are no stated fines for a fourth or subsequent offense, and they may result in 1 to 7 years in prison.

Felony DUI Fines

You can be charged with a felony DUI if you caused a car accident and another person was injured or killed. In addition to 15 to 30 years in prison, there are fines for this conviction. If someone suffered an injury, fines are between $5,100 and $10,100. If someone was killed, fines are between $10,100 and $25,100.

Other Costs of a DUI Conviction

There are other costs and long-term effects of a DUI conviction. These include:

  • IID Installation: An IID must be installed in every vehicle you own or that someone you live with owns, and it can cost thousands of dollars to install.
  • SR-22 Insurance: This is a high-risk form of insurance that drivers convicted of a DUI are required to carry for 3 years in South Carolina.
  • Treatment Programs: If your license is suspended, you have to complete a drug and alcohol education and treatment program.
  • Vehicle Impoundment: If your car was impounded after your arrest, you will have to pay to get it out.
  • Refusing a Breathalyzer Test: If you challenge a license suspension after refusing a breathalyzer test, there are additional court costs.
  • Loss of License or Employment: A DUI can lead to the loss of a commercial driver’s license and even your job in some situations. It can also limit your career opportunities in the future.


Q: How Likely Is Jail Time for Your First DUI in South Carolina?

A: For a first DUI offense with no aggravating factors, the jail time is between 48 hours and 30 days, depending on the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Aggravating factors such as having a BAC over 0.16% may increase the potential jail time to 90 days. However, for a first offense, it is possible to serve community service in place of jail time. This depends on the judge assigned to your case and the skill of your defense attorney.

Q: How Many Points Is a DUI in South Carolina?

A: Your license is immediately suspended if you are charged with a DUI in South Carolina, so there is no point amount attributed to a DUI. If you are not convicted of a DUI, you could receive points on your license for other actions. This includes reckless driving, which results in 6 points on your license, or turning illegally, which results in 4 points. When you accrue 12 points on your license, it is suspended. If you are arrested for a DUI, your license could also be suspended if:

  • You refused a breathalyzer or chemical test.
  • Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over 0.15% after a chemical test.

Q: Can You Drive After a DUI in South Carolina?

A: A license is not always suspended after a DUI arrest, but it is always suspended after a DUI conviction. However, you could qualify for a restricted or provisional license that allows you to drive in a limited capacity. This often includes driving to school, your job, or to the required educational and/or treatment programs. Qualifying for this license requires you to have submitted to a breathalyzer test and have a BAC of less than 0.15%. It also depends on other factors, such as your driving history. A provisional license includes the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID).

Q: Does a DUI Show Up on a Background Check in South Carolina?

A: Yes, a DUI conviction will show up on a background check in South Carolina. A DUI will be on a criminal record for the rest of your life, and it can’t be expunged. A DUI will also impact your driving record. Depending on the severity of the offense, a DUI may stay on your driving record for 10 years or be permanent. With penalties this long-lasting, it’s important to mitigate them by working with an experienced DUI defense attorney.

A Strong Defense Against DUI Charges

The majority of DUI fines are a problem after conviction. By working with a skilled DUI defense attorney, you can get a clearer understanding of the charges you face, as well as your options for mitigating or eliminating the penalties. It could even prevent significant fines. Contact Axelrod & Associates if you have been arrested for a DUI to see how we can protect your rights.

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