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First DUI Offenses in South Carolina

Consequences Can Be Severe. Fight Back With a Skilled Attorney.

Are you or a loved one facing their very first DUI offense? While not every driver ends up being accused of DUI in their lifetime, these cases are common and the accused come from every walk of life, regardless of their criminal history or status in the community. Because a simple lapse in judgment can happen to anyone, J. Bradley Baker LLC believes that our clients facing a first-time DUI deserve an advocate by their side ready to protect their interests.


Charged with a DUI? Contact J. Bradley Baker, LLC at (803) 403-1485 or complete an online form. Your initial consultation is free of charge. Do not hesitate to reach out to us today.


Infographic of what happens for your first DUI offense in South Carolina

Is a DUI A Felony in SC?

In South Carolina, DUI arrests are typically misdemeanors, however, a felony DUI charge may be triggered in certain circumstances. For example, if an intoxicated driver caused an accident that resulted in injury or death, then it becomes a felony DUI. Prior DUI convictions may also trigger felony penalties (time in prison) if there has been more than one DUI.

What Happens for Your First DUI Offense?

If you are convicted of driving under the influence as a first-time offense, you may be subject to jail time and fines of $400 or more, as well as having your license suspended for 6 months. You will also be required to complete the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program.

Specific penalties apply to drivers under the age of twenty-one. If a driver under the age of twenty-one is found to have a blood alcohol content ("BAC") between . 02% and . 08%, their license may be suspended for three months. This suspension is increased to six months for a second offense within five years.

DUI Fines for First Offense

Fines for a first-time offender are dependent on how high your BAC was at the time of your arrest:

  • The minimum fee a driver will face is $400
  • For drivers with a BAC of .10% to .16%, the fee is $500
  • For drivers with a BAC of .16% or higher, the fine is $1,000

License Suspension for First Offense

Anyone who received a first time DUI charge will have their license suspended for a minimum of 6 months. Drivers with a BAC of .15% or higher are eligible for having their suspension increased by 1 month.

Note: For drivers who were arrested with a BAC lower that .15%, you may be eligible to receive a provisional license which will allow you to drive during your suspension period as long as you are enrolled in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP).

Other Penalties That Depend on Your BAC Level

One of the most challenging realities of a DUI conviction is that the state of South Carolina provides numerous penalties for the accused. While no one penalty is especially serious, combined, they can add up to a serious interruption of the convicted’s life. The most serious of these penalties, jail time, is dictated by the accused's blood alcohol content (BAC) at the time of their arrest.

Jail time by BAC level in South Carolina is as follows:

  • BAC .08% to .10% - minimum of 2 days of jail (maximum: 30 days)
  • BAC over .10%, less than .16% - minimum of 3 days in jail (maximum: 30 days)
  • BAC .16% and over - minimum of 30 days in jail (maximum: 90 days)

The good news is that, in most cases, jail time can be avoided by first time offender. Other penalties, such as license suspensions, fines, and mandatory substance abuse assessments may apply. For more information on first-time DUI penalties and what our criminal defense firm can do to help minimize any sentence and resolve this matter as swiftly as possible, contact us today.

Treatment Plans

All drivers who are charged with driving under the influence are required to complete the ADSAP treatment program.

Call DUI Defense Attorneys in Lexington Today

At J. Bradley Baker LLC, our clients can count on their case being backed by 15 years of legal experience. Our Lexington, SC DUI defense lawyer knows what to look for in these cases when developing a defense and, in every case, can ensure that our clients receive every consideration they deserve both in and outside the courtroom.

You do not have to face your first DUI charge without a proven advocate in your corner. Call our firm at (803) 403-1485 today or use our online form to request a free case evaluation.