Industry News for Criminal Defense Law in Columbia, South Carolina

2024 DUI Laws in South Carolina

In 2024, South Carolina has updated its DUI laws to further discourage driving under the influence and enhance road safety. The state maintains a strict stance on DUI, with a legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit of 0.08% for most drivers, 0.04% for commercial drivers, and a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under 21, where any detectable amount of alcohol can lead to a DUI charge.

Implied Consent Law: South Carolina’s implied consent law requires drivers to submit to BAC testing if suspected of DUI. Refusal to comply results in immediate suspension of driving privileges and can be used as evidence in court.

Escalation of Charges: DUI charges can escalate based on several factors, including having a BAC significantly above the legal limit, causing an accident that results in injury or death, or having minors in the vehicle at the time of the offense.

Penalties for DUI in South Carolina

The penalties for a DUI conviction in South Carolina vary based on the offense number and specific circumstances surrounding the violation:

  • First Offense: Drivers face fines up to $1,000, jail time ranging from 48 hours to 30 days, and a 6-month license suspension. Enrollment in an alcohol and drug safety action program is also required.
  • Subsequent Offenses: Penalties increase with each offense, including fines up to $10,000, jail time up to 5 years, and license suspension for up to 2 years. An ignition interlock device may also be mandated.
  • Aggravated DUI: In cases of aggravated DUI, penalties include longer jail sentences, higher fines, and the possibility of mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device for longer periods.

Costs Associated with a DUI Charge

The financial implications of a DUI charge in South Carolina extend beyond court-imposed fines:

  • Legal Fees: Hiring a defense attorney can vary in cost depending on the complexity of the case.
  • Court Costs: These may include fees for filing documents, administrative fees, and costs associated with alcohol education programs.
  • Insurance Premiums: Expect a significant increase in car insurance premiums following a DUI conviction.
  • Ignition Interlock Device: If required, the installation and monthly rental fees for the device can add up over time.

Navigating DUI Charges with Thompson and Hiller

Facing DUI charges can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Thompson and Hiller offer comprehensive legal services to help you:

  • Challenge Evidence: We examine the circumstances of your arrest, the accuracy of BAC testing, and the legality of the traffic stop.
  • Negotiate Penalties: Our goal is to minimize the impact of a DUI charge, negotiating for reduced penalties or alternative sentencing where possible.
  • Legal Guidance: We provide step-by-step guidance through the legal process, ensuring you understand your rights and options.

Preventive Measures and Legal Advice

The best strategy against DUI charges is prevention. We advocate for responsible driving practices and recommend:

  • Plan Ahead: Use designated drivers or ride-sharing services if you plan to drink.
  • Know the Law: Understanding the legal implications of DUI can deter impaired driving.
  • Seek Legal Advice Early: If you’re facing charges, getting legal counsel as soon as possible can significantly affect the outcome of your case.


The 2024 updates to South Carolina’s DUI laws underscore the state’s commitment to reducing impaired driving incidents. Thompson and Hiller are here to support you through this challenging time, offering informed legal representation to protect your rights and future.

Call to Action

Don’t let DUI charges define your future. Reach out to Thompson and Hiller today for a consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Our team is ready to stand by your side and navigate the complexities of South Carolina’s DUI laws together.