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Greenville DUAC Lawyer

KENDRICK & LEONARD, P.C. > Greenville DUAC Lawyer

Driving With Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) in Greenville, South Carolina

Besides DUI, another serious offense in Greenville, SC, is DUAC. Those guilty of it will need the help of experienced DUI lawyers. Although many drivers confuse DUI with DUAC, there are a few important differences between them. We will review them in the following lines.


DUI vs. DUAC in South Carolina – Differences and Similarities

As an offense, DUI involves “driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol”. DUAC does not involve drugs. It refers to alcohol only. In order to prove DUI, the police officers have to prove two aspects:

  1. That the driver has alcohol present in their blood
  2. That the alcohol in their system impairs the driver. In this case, impairment can mean slow reflexes, inability to focus, and more. There is no minimum BAC level to justify or dismiss DUI charges. However, the police officers will need more than the BAC to prove a driver’s intoxication.

In order to prove DUAC, they only have to prove the unlawful blood alcohol concentration. Therefore, DUAC can qualify as presumptive evidence for DUI. However, the driver’s BAC level will have to be of at least 0.08% in order to justify an arrest. In terms of penalties, DUAC and  DUI are very much alike.


Penalties for Drivers Charged with DUAC in Greenville, SC

The penalties for DUAC are subject to SC Code § 56-5-2933 (2017). This section makes operating vehicles while having a BAC higher than 0.08% illegal. Here is a brief overview of the penalties convicted drivers face:

  1. First Offense

Drivers violating the above section code for the first time, with a BAC of up to 0.10% risk a fine of $400. They may also have to spend between 48 hours and 30 days in prison. An experienced DUI lawyer may be able to obtain public service employment instead of imprisonment.

For a BAC of 0.10 – 0.16%, the fine goes up to $500. The minimum prison sentence ranges from 72 hours to 30 days. Again, drivers may replace jail time with community service.

The penalties for a BAC over 0.16% are even higher. The fine may reach $1,000. The prison sentence will range between 30 and 90 days. The possibility to do community service instead of spending time in prison remains valid.

  1. Second Offense

Drivers at their second offense and with a BAC lower than 0.10% will have to pay a fine of minimum $2,100. Sometimes, experienced DUI attorneys succeed to reduce it to $1,000. It can be diminished to $1,000. The prison sentence can range between 5 days and 1 year.

Drivers with a BAC between 0.10% and 0.16% will pay a fine between $2,500 and $5,000. Their prison sentence may range from 30 days to 2 years. Again, it may be possible to reduce the fine to as little as $1,000.

For a BAC exceeding 0.16%, the fine goes from $3,500 to $6,500. The prison sentence goes from 90 days to 3 years. It may be possible to reduce the fine to $1,100, for those who rely on the advice of experienced DUI attorneys.

  1. Third Offense

The fine for DUAC with a BAC of up to 0.10% goes from $3,800 to $6,300. The minimum prison sentence is of 60 days. The maximum one reaches 3 years.

A BAC between 0.10% and 0.16% will bring about a fine of minimum $5,000 and maximum $7,500. The jail sentence will go from 90 days to 4 years.

For drivers with BAC exceeding 0.16%, the minimum fine reaches $7,500. The maximum fine goes up to $10,000. Jail sentences start at 6 months and may reach 5 years.

  1. Fourth and Subsequent Offenses

Drivers with a BAC of up to 10%, the jail sentence goes from 1 year to 5 years. A BAC between 0.10% and 0.16% will lead to a jail sentence of minimum 2 years, maximum 6 years. Drivers with a BAC over 0.16% risk spending between 3 years and 7 years in prison.

These sentences are subject to several rules. Every driver facing DUAC charges should be aware of them. They basically limit the sentence reductions Greenville DUI attorneys may obtain for their clients. They also highlight the importance of building a solid defense.


Other Rules Influencing DUAC Penalties in Greenville, SC

  • The minimum sentences mentioned above cannot be suspended. Instead of public service, the court can apply any other corresponding sentence described above. The minimum sentence is mandatory for second and subsequent offenders. However, the court may agree to weekend or nighttime service and other facilities for the convicted driver.
  • The minimum fines for first offenses are not subject to suspension.
  • DUI and DUAC offenses registered within the previous 10 years represent prior violations.
  • Non-resident drivers sentenced to public service may request to serve their sentence in their county of residence.
  • Out of each fine a driver pays, $100 will go to a special, restricted account. The money should finance Department of Public Safety projects referring to the Highway Patrol.
  • $200 from DUAC fines will go to an account meant to finance the State Law Enforcement Division. The goal is to offset administration costs for breathalyzers, video recording equipment, and toxicology laboratory.
  • All drivers convicted of DUAC have to enroll in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. The program should hold certification from the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS). It should include an evaluation of the driver’s alcohol abuse problem. It should offer education, treatment, or both. The DAODAS should monitor the driver’s successful completion of the program. The costs of the program will be the responsibility of the applicant. They cannot exceed $500 for education, $2,000 for treatment, and $2,500 in total. Those who cannot pay for their participation in the program will do 50 hours of community service to compensate. Those who fail to complete the program can be held in contempt of court.
  • In order to justify the prosecution of a driver, the tests should take place within two hours. The police officers will need reasonable suspicion to stop drivers in traffic.

These rules and more enable DUI lawyers in Greenville to challenge DUAC charges.


DUAC Aspects Greenville DUI Attorneys May Challenge to Defend Their Clients

Here are some aspects the law enables SC DUI lawyers to challenge.

  • The lawfulness of their clients’ arrest
  • The period that passed from  arrest to testing
  • The police provided the driver with a written presentation and verbal explanation of their rights.              
  • The person who administered the tests was qualified for the job        
  • The BAC reported  at the time of the testing was of at least 0.81%
  • The administration of the tests followed protocol

Whether or not a DUI lawyer’s actions are successful will depend on their client’s behavior as well. Many drivers have no idea what DUAC is and how it is different from DUI. When facing charges, they commit mistakes that make the attorney’s work more difficult.


How to Handle a DUAC Check and Eventual Accusations in Greenville

If you know you have been drinking, you should never assume you know the law. Instead, it is better to contact a DUI attorney. Checkpoints are legal, and police officers have the right to ask drivers to take breathalyzer tests. Despite the “implied consent rule”, drivers can refuse tests.

The field sobriety test is optional, so refusing it won’t result in penalties. Refusing breathalyzer or blood tests will bring about a license suspension. Drivers should never play smart or be disrespectful to the police officers. The more discrete and decent they behave, the less evidence the police will have against them.

Sometimes, the police officers suggest drivers to accept DUAC charges and get away with DUI. This is not an option. As shown above, DUAC carries penalties similar to DUI. Any conviction will go on your driving record and ruin it. The better option is to request a few minutes to contact your lawyer. Even if they cannot come to you immediately, they will advise you on the steps to follow.

For example, if the police officers request blood tests, you can double check them in your laboratory of choice. Any differences in results could qualify as evidence of your innocence. Any protocol mistakes during the tests may help your lawyer render the tests inconclusive.

DUAC charges may not seem as serious as DUI, but they are. As shown above, the penalties may reach years of imprisonment and fines of thousands of dollars. The best way to avoid these is not to get behind the wheel after drinking. If it is too late for that, your priority should be to find a reliable DUI lawyer.


Discuss Your Case with the DUI Lawyers at Kendrick & Leonard Right Now!

If you are facing DUAC charges in Greenville, you will find the advice you need at Kendrick & Leonard. Call 803-888-4038 or reach out to us online as soon as possible. We will schedule a free consultation to review your case and answer your questions. If you give us a chance, we will help you fight any DUAC accusations and keep your record clean!

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