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Greenville DUI Penalties

KENDRICK & LEONARD, P.C. > Greenville DUI Penalties

DUI Penalties in Greenville, South Carolina

DUI is a serious crime in South Carolina. Drivers found operating vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol face serious penalties. Most DUI penalties involve license suspension or revocation, fines, and even jail time. With their license, drivers stand to lose much more. Some may lose their job or make it impossible to find one. Others will have to find other solutions to commute to work. Parents may no longer be able to take their kids to and from school. A criminal record will not look good in any circumstances.

The best way to avoid DUI penalties is to work with an experienced DUI lawyer in Greenville, SC. The latter will review the case and find a solution to help you fight charges. If the accusations you face are not too serious, they may be able to prove your innocence. If they are serious and the evidence is overwhelming, they will surely be able to negotiate a convenient settlement.

Some drivers take DUI charges lightly. They only realize the severity of their situation when it is too late. A DUI conviction can ruin anyone’s personal, social, and professional life. Hoping for the best and leaving the outcome to chance is not a viable solution. Preparing for the worst and working with a Greenville DUI attorney to avoid it is. If you are not sure you need legal help, perhaps an overview of what is at stake will help.


DUI Penalties or Why Work with a Greenville DUI Lawyer

In South Carolina, there are several types of penalties for DUI. Some offenses bring about only one or two of these penalties, others lead to combinations of all. The penalties range from driving license suspension to fines and jail time.

In some cases, participation in a rehabilitation program is necessary as well. There are also cases when the driver has to install an Ignition Interlock Device on their car. Several factors influence the penalties a drunk driver may receive:

  • The driver’s cooperation with the authorities (refusing to take some tests will lead to penalties)
  • The driver’s age (the laws and penalties are different for drivers under 21)
  • The type of vehicle operated (commercial drivers face different penalties)
  • Previous convictions for DUI related crimes (repeat offenders risk higher penalties)
  • The driver’s BAC (the higher the BAC, the more serious the penalties.

Here is a brief overview of the penalties drivers risk when caught driving under the influence in Greenville, SC.


Penalties for Refusing Tests in Greenville, SC

In order to establish a driver’s level of intoxication, the police officers will ask them to take tests. The breathalyzer, blood, and urine tests are subject to the “implied consent” rule. Those who refuse them automatically face a license suspension period of 6 months. The suspension period grows to 9, 12, and 15 months for two, three, or four offenses within the last decade.

If you have not been drinking, it is better to cooperate with the authorities and take the tests. If you know the results will be positive, you should consult a DUI lawyer to help weigh your options. There are no penalties for refusing the field sobriety test.


DUI Penalties for Greenville Drivers under 21 Years of Age

South Carolina laws do not tolerate drinking and driving under 21 years of age. The penalties for young drivers start at a BAC of 0.02%. They range from 3 months of license suspension for the first offense to 1 year for multiple offenses.


DUI Penalties for Commercial Drivers in Greenville, SC

For commercial drivers, penalties start at a BAC of 0.04%. They involve 1 year of license suspension. Commercial drivers depend on their license to make a living. They should defend at all cost. The best way to do that is by working with a Greenville DUI attorney.  


DUI Penalties by BAC and Number of Offenses

Here is a presentation of the penalties Greenville drivers will face in case of a DUI conviction. It is important to note that it is possible to avoid or diminish these penalties. The key is to consult a Greenville DUI lawyer.

  1. First DUI Offense

  • BAC under 0.10% – If you are charged with DUI for the first time with a BAC under 0.10%, you face misdemeanor charges. You may spend up to 30 days in prison and pay $400 as a fine. You will also lose your license for up to six months.
  • BAC from 0.10% to 0.16% – Again, you may spend up to 30 days in jail, and lose your driving license for up to 6 months. You will pay a slightly higher fine, of up to $500.
  • BAC above 0.16% – The prison sentence may reach 90 days. The license suspension period remains at 6 months. However, the fine increases to $1,000.
  1. Second DUI Offense

  • BAC under 0.10% – As a second-time offender, you risk spending up to 1 year behind bars. The fine may reach $5,100. You will also lose your license for up to 1 year.

  • BAC from 0.10% to 0.16% – Your prison sentence may reach 2 years. You will have to pay up to $5,500 as a fine. The license revocation period will remain at 1 year.

  • BAC above 0.16% – If caught with this level of intoxication, you risk spending 3 years in jail. The fine you have to pay may reach $6,500. You will also lose your license for 1 year.

  1. Third DUI Offense

  • BAC under 0.10% – DUI penalties for drivers in this category may include up to 3 years of jail time. The maximum fine is of $6,300. The license revocation period may reach 4 years.  
  • BAC between 0.10% and 0.16% – The prison sentence and license revocations period remain unchanged.  However, the fine may grow up $7,500.
  • BAC above 0.16% – You could spend up to 5 years in prison. You will pay a fine of $10,000 and lose your license for 4 years.
  1. Fourth DUI Offense

  • BAC under 0.10% – You risk spending 5 years behind bars and losing your driving license for good.
  • BAC of 0.10-0.16% – The license revocation is permanent at this level of intoxication as well. The prison sentence, however, may reach 6 years.  
  • BAC higher than 0.16% – Permanent license revocation and 7 years behind bars is the maximum DUI penalty.  

No matter the level of intoxication or their previous offenses, all drivers want to keep their license. They also want to stay out of prison and, why not, avoid paying fines. You do too, for sure. To succeed, you will need an experienced DUI attorney.

Some drivers assume they can avoid prison on their own. They do not pay fines, and they plan to keep driving despite their license revocation or suspension. It is never a good idea, as it may add up to the already considerable DUI penalties.


Penalties for Driving with a Revoked or Suspended License in Greenville, SC

The penalties for driving with a suspended license vary according to the number of offenses:

  • As a first-time offender, you risk paying a fine of $300 and/or spending 30 days in prison.
  • As a second-time offender, your fine could reach $600. The prison sentence may grow as well, up to 60 days.
  • As a third-time offender, you will pay a fine of up to $1000. You also risk spending up to 90 days behind bars. If your prison sentence exceeds 90 days, the rest of the sentence will be for home confinement.

If the above penalties are not enough to scare you, something else might. Driving with a suspended license may double your license suspension period. For example, a suspension period of 6 months could turn into one of 12 months.

Instead of taking such huge risks, it is better to avoid suspension with the help of a DUI lawyer. They know how difficult to put up with DUI penalties are. They will do everything in their power to help you avoid them. Even when all odds are against you, they will still find a way to reduce those penalties.

The more experienced your DUI attorney is the higher your chances to avoid or minimize DUI penalties are. To increase your chances even more, make sure you request legal help as soon as possible. The more you wait, the more challenging your case will be.


Avoid DUI Penalties with the Help of a Kendrick & Leonard DUI Attorney in Greenville, SC

If you were caught driving under the influence, we can help you build a solid defense. We will help you gather evidence, dismiss the evidence against you, and prove your innocence. With our help, you can avoid DUI penalties and keep your much-needed driving license.

To benefit from our advice, schedule a free consultation by calling 803.667.3186. Our Greenville DUI lawyer will review your case and explain the DUI penalties you risk. They will also propose ways to avoid them. You need our experience and commitment to results, so get in touch now!

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