Learn More About DWIs

South Carolina DUI & DWI Laws

Jun 30, 2016

A DUI is a serious crime in South Carolina and offenders will suffer extensive fines, punishments and requirements. You can be convicted of a DUI in SC if your BAC or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is .08% or greater. Driving under the influence can be defined as driving while impaired by both drugs and/or alcohol as well as driving both a car or a boat.
Legal limit in South Carolina:

  • Standard, non-commercial drivers: 0.08% BAC
  • Commercial drivers: 0.04% BAC
  • Drivers under 21: 0.02% BAC

Penalties, Fines, & Suspension

South Carolina DUI & DWI Penalties, Fines, & Suspension
Penalty 1st offense 2nd offense 3rd offense 4th offense
Sentence 48 hours to 90 days 5 days to 3 years 60 days to 5 years 1 to 7 years
Fine $400 to $1,000 $2,100 to $6,500 $3,800 to $10,000 Up to $10,000
Driver’s License Suspension 6 months 1 year 2 years indefinitely


Chemical Test Refusal

South Carolina is an implied consent state meaning drivers are required to take a chemical test to determine BAC levels if lawfully arrested with probable cause that you are under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. Law enforcement officers have the right to choose between a breath, blood or urine test and you cannot refuse these tests without punishment.
1st offense: 6 month license suspension
2nd offense: 9 month license suspension
3rd offense: 1 year license suspension

Ignition Interlock

Anyone convicted of a DUI with a BAC at or above as well as second, third or fourth offenders will be required to install a BAIID or a breath alcohol ignition interlock device in their vehicle. This device will prevent drivers from starting their vehicle with a BAC any higher than a .02%. This is the only option for drivers under these DUI circumstances to regain driving privileges during suspension.

Criminal Record

A DUI charge will remain on a person’s criminal record for 10 years and is likely to be used against them if another conviction occurs during this time period.

Under 21

Drinking alcohol under the age of 21 is against the law under most circumstances in South Carolina. If caught driving with a BAC at or above .02% as a minor will result in various fines and punishments including 2 to 30 days in jail, $400 or more in fines and a license suspension for 6 months. After a second conviction this will increase to 5 days to 1 year in jail, a $2,100 plus fine and a year long license suspension.

DWI with a Child Passenger

DUI offenses with a child passenger under the age of 16 is considered child endangerment in South Carolina. Offenders of child endangerment are subject to additional jail time and fines. Additionally, offenders will suffer a mandatory 60 day license suspension.

More on SC DUI Laws:

South Carolina Department of Public Safety: DUI Facts:

South Carolina Department of Public Safety; DUI Laws:

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Updated: July 8, 2016 at 5:04 pm