4701 Oleander Drive, Suite A
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

What Happens When You Get a DUI in South Carolina? 2024

What Happens When You Get a DUI in South Carolina? 2024
Axelrod & Associates, P.A.

Though it happens every day, a DUI is a serious crime in South Carolina. Most people know about the crime, but they aren’t sure what to do after a traffic stop and field sobriety test. It’s important to remain collected when dealing with a DUI and ensure you don’t end up causing more issues for yourself down the line. The most important thing to remember is to speak with a South Carolina DUI lawyer as soon as you can.

Let’s look at some of the most important factors to keep in mind when dealing with a DUI.

South Carolina DUI Laws: The Basics

The state can charge you with a DUI if they believe you were driving while under the influence of a mind-altering substance. The most common of these substances is alcohol, but you can run afoul of a DUI for having any drugs in your system.

The legal limit in South Carolina is a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent. Anything at or above this will result in a DUI charge and arrest.

Police must have probable cause to conduct a traffic stop. Officers cannot go on a simple hunch or gut feeling that someone is drunk; they need to observe something that alarms them. The standard for probable cause is pretty low regarding DUIs, as they can conduct a stop if they notice a driver drifting off the road or failing to come to a complete stop at a light, for example.

The state can also charge someone for having an open container of alcohol in their car if the operator doesn’t store it in the trunk.

What Happens After the Police Pull You Over for Suspected DUI?

In a DUI checkpoint, when the police lights come on, you need to pull over. The officers will begin to interview you and may ask you to participate in a field sobriety test. South Carolina law says that by driving on the road, you are giving implied consent to any tests for sobriety.

You can refuse to take a breath test to estimate your blood alcohol content. Refusing the test does allow you to maintain deniability, but you will face an immediate suspension of your license by law enforcement. Additionally, anyone blowing above 0.15 percent will also face a license suspension.

If the police suspend your license, you will have to contact the DMV within 30 days to attain a temporary alcohol license while you await the end of the legal process.

What Penalties Come With a DUI Conviction?

DUI penalties vary greatly depending on any prior convictions. In general, a DUI is a misdemeanor, though the crime can reach a felony if it is a fourth conviction or someone sustains a serious injury during the incident.

  • First offense: You will face between 48 hours and 90 days in jail for a first DUI. Many judges will opt for probation and community service for a first-time offense.
  • Second offense: A second offense carries the risk of up to three years in jail if you blow above 0.15 percent.
  • Third offense: A third conviction will increase the potential penalties, as you could spend anywhere from 60 days to five years in a correctional facility after a conviction.
  • Fourth offense: The state will treat these offenses as a felony, and you could look at a maximum of seven years in prison.

Aside from jail time, you’ll be facing the risk of community service, mandatory counseling, and probation after a DUI conviction.

What Should You Do After a DUI in South Carolina?

After the initial arrest, you’ll want to contact a DUI defense attorney in Myrtle Beach, SC, and ask them to handle your case. Your attorney will work tirelessly to try to help you avoid a conviction.

Most DUI defenses require a technical understanding of the law a layperson likely won’t have. This is why you need to hire an attorney and let them handle the difficult stuff while you deal with getting your life back together and getting your license back.


Q: What Happens After You Get Your First DUI in South Carolina?

A: You’ll likely have to apply for a temporary license while the state suspends your license. You will also have to obey any sentence the judge may hand down if the court finds you guilty. You may be able to avoid jail time, but you’ll likely have to deal with probation, community service, and mandatory counseling.

Q: Can You Convince a Judge to Drop a DUI Charge?

A: Judges can decide to drop a charge, but it isn’t particularly common. You’ll need to demonstrate a superb legal defense and focus on improper procedures by law enforcement. If the police did not have probable cause or if they did not respect your civil rights while conducting the stop, you may have a case for dismissal.

Q: Do the Police Suspend Your License After a DUI?

A: Police will suspend your license if you refuse to submit to a field sobriety test or if you register above 0.15 percent blood alcohol content. A license suspension may last until you complete the terms of your sentence. You can apply for a temporary license from the DMV up to 30 days after the suspension.

Q: Can You Get a DUI Reduced to Something Else in SC?

A: Some prosecutors will entertain the idea of lowering a DUI charge to something lower if you decide to take a plea deal. This isn’t a very common situation, and you’ll need to have your attorney negotiate and try to secure a deal. You may be able to get your case down to a reckless driving charge instead of a DUI.

Reach Out to Axelrod & Associates

You need to hire an experienced South Carolina DUI lawyer if you or someone you know is dealing with a charge. A DUI sticks on your criminal record forever, and you cannot ask the court to expunge it. Also, the penalties get more severe with each subsequent offense. You need an attorney who will work to aggressively fight your DUI charge.

At Axelrod & Associates, we have plenty of experience helping people with their DUI charges. Contact us today to see how we can help you navigate the case.

Recent Posts



Need help? Contact Axelrod & Associates, P.A.

Our Locations

Medios de Comunicación Social:


Request your

The fields marked with * are mandatory.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.