Felony DUI in South Carolina

Felony DUI in South Carolina Motorist opens a beer bottle while about to get on the road.

Bodily Injury or Death Is Part of a Felony DUI in South Carolina

DUI is usually considered a misdemeanor, but it can escalate to a felony. The difference between the two is whether another person has suffered injury or death. Beyond that, the consequences the at-fault party faces are much greater in a felony DUI. Let’s take a look at DUI charges and injuries in the state of South Carolina.

What Is a Misdemeanor DUI in SC?

A misdemeanor DUI occurs when a driver is found to be operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.08 percent. The percentage of alcohol that is considered illegal for a driver under 21 in SC is 0.02 percent on a BAC test. On occasion, if supporting evidence concludes that you were driving with an alcohol level greater than zero, you can be convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol. 

The fines, jail time, and length of license suspension vary, depending on whether the incident was a first, second or third offense. 

Felony DUI

A felony DUI in South Carolina is considerably different from a misdemeanor DUI. Once again, the laws in South Carolina prohibit a driver from operating a motor vehicle when they have a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit. The difference between the two is that felony DUI involves bodily injury or death to another person. 

Bodily Injury or Death

The law specifies that if a driver with an alcohol level above the legal limit causes a significant injury to another person or their death, they will be charged with a felony DUI. How is great bodily injury defined? Under South Carolina law, a great bodily injury is one of the following:

  • Loss or impairment of an extremity or bodily system
  • Disfigurement that is considered permanent
  • An injury that increases the possibility of a wrongful death

Consequences of a Felony DUI in South Carolina

The following consequences occur when a driver is convicted of a felony DUI:

  • Great bodily injury: Fines of $5,100 to $10,100 are leveled against the driver. The amount increases after surcharges and assessments are added to $21,119.50. Jail time of 30 days to 15 years is also levied. 
  • Death associated with drunk driving in SC: Fines of $10,100 to $25,100 can be levied against the driver. A total of $52,244.50 after assessments and surcharges are applied. In addition, jail time ranges from one to 25 years. 
  • A third DUI is considered a felony in the state. If the driver’s BAC level is less than 0.10 percent, jail time is downgraded to three years, and the fine is $12,000. The fines and jail time can be ramped up if the percent concentration is higher. 

Charges If a Minor Is Riding in the Vehicle

When a minor under 16 is in the vehicle driven by an inebriated driver, the motor vehicle operator can also be charged with child endangerment. When the minor is seriously or fatally injured, the charge will become a felony DUI. The penalties may vary.

Refusing a Breathalyzer Test

Basically, drivers already give their consent to be tested using blood, urine or a Breathalyzer if driving under the influence is suspected. If the driver refuses to be tested, their license can be suspended for 90 days. This is increased to 180 days if a prior offense or suspension exists in the previous 10 years. 

Morris Law Accident Injury Lawyers

When a DUI driver causes your injuries, the Morris Law Accident Injury Lawyers in Aiken is here to help you get the compensation that you deserve. Let us help you recover your lost wages, hospital and other medical expenses and fair compensation for pain and suffering. Call us at (803) 470-4444, or connect with us online.


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