Often the first question the DUI defense lawyers at Futeral & Nelson get is what happens to a person’s driving privileges. There are two main parts to answering this question. The first part is the initial suspension that might occur depending on whether you gave a breath sample (“blew” into the machine) after you were arrested. The second is what can happen to your license at the end of the case depending on how the DUI charge is resolved. Our lawyers explain the two scenarios in this article.
Is My License Suspended for a DUI Arrest in South Carolina?
There are certain situations where you might be suspended right after your DUI arrest. This is called the “Implied Consent Suspension.”
- If you refused to blow into the breathalyzer for a DUI 1st offense, your license is immediately suspended for 6 months, and you have to take the ADSAP class. You can challenge this suspension by requesting a hearing within 30 days. If it is an arrest for a DUI 2nd offense, then the refusal suspension is for 9 months. If it’s 3rd offense, the refusal suspension is 12 months. If it’s 4th offense, then the refusal suspension is 15 months.
- If you submitted a breath sample of 0.15% BAC or greater, your license is immediately suspended for one month. You can challenge this suspension as well by requesting a hearing within 30 days. If it is an arrest for a DUI 2nd offense, the suspension is for two months. 3rd offense is for three months. 4th or greater offense, the suspension is for four months.
- In either event, if you request your hearing on time, while we wait on the hearing to be scheduled and decided, you will likely have driving privileges by getting a Temporary Alcohol License from the DMV.
- You may have options to drive even if serving this suspension. One option is to voluntarily enroll in the SC Ignition Interlock Program. The other option may be to get a route restricted license if you qualify for one. This route restricted license only allows you to drive to and from work, school, or ADSAP.
We explain the “Implied Consent Suspension” in more detail here.
Is My License Suspended if My DUI Case is Settled in South Carolina?
There are different ways a DUI can resolve, and this might affect your ability to drive.
- DUI conviction: A conviction for DUI first offense if you refused the breathalyzer or blew a 0.15% or greater will require you to enroll in the SC Ignition Interlock Program for six months. If you blew but the BAC was less than 0.15%, you qualify for a provisional license that allows you to drive in SC. If you have had a previous DUI or DUAC in the previous 10 years and are convicted of DUI 2nd offense, you will have to install an ignition interlock device in your car for two years.
- DUAC conviction: A conviction for Driving With an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) first offense if you refused the breathalyzer or blew a 0.15% or greater will require you to enroll in the SC Ignition Interlock Program for six months. If you blew but the BAC was less than 0.15%, you probably will qualify for a provisional license which allows you to drive in SC.
- Reckless Driving: A common resolution of DUI charges is to plead guilty to reckless driving in exchange for the DUI to be dismissed and expunged. All by itself, a reckless driving conviction does not result in a suspension, but it can in certain circumstances. (1) If you had a reckless driving in the past 5 years, you will be suspended for 90 days. (2) If you had other qualifying violations in the past 3 years, you might be declared a habitual offender. (3) Reckless driving carries 6 points, and if you have 12 points against your license at one time, you may be suspended under the South Carolina points system.
What is Emma’s Law in South Carolina?
Emma’s Law essentially created the Ignition Interlock Device Program in South Carolina. This program gives certain drivers convicted of DUI or DUAC an option to drive if they put an ignition interlock device in their car. We explain this program in much greater detail here.
What Are Thes Different Licenses I Keep Hearing About?
There are several different licenses that can come into play in a DUI case. We summarize the differences between them here:
- Route Restricted License: If you qualify, this license allows you to drive to work, school, and ADSAP classes. You can only get one in South Carolina in your lifetime. It is most commonly used to get a limited driving privilege during an implied consent suspension.
- Temporary Alcohol License: If you request an implied consent hearing on time, this is the license you can get to drive without limitation in South Carolina until you get a decision from the implied consent hearing.
- Provisional License: If you are convicted of DUI or DUAC 1st offense, and you didn’t refuse the breathalyzer and didn’t blow over a 0.15%, then you likely qualify for a provisional license that lets you drive without restrictions in South Carolina even though you are technically “suspended” for six months.
What Should I Do?
Contact the lawyers at Futeral & Nelson and schedule a consultation. In addition to the driving suspensions described above, you might be facing jail time, a permanent criminal record, and other consequences from the DUI charge.