Changes to SC DUI Law in 2023 – Ignition Interlock Device Program
Changes to SC DUI law have been passed by the SC legislature, signed into law by the governor, and will go into effect on May 19, 2024.
What are the new changes to SC DUI law? Most of the amendments deal with ignition interlock devices (IID), including IID requirements for:
- Any person who has been convicted of a DUI-related offense (DUI, DUAC, or felony DUI), and
- Any person who has an implied consent violation that is not overturned at an administrative hearing.
Changes to SC DUI Law in 2023 – More Ignition Interlock Devices
- Under the new law, anyone who has an implied consent violation will be required to install an ignition interlock device, and
- Anyone who is convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC) will be required to install an ignition interlock device before they can drive again.
What is an ignition interlock device?
It is a breathalyzer device that is attached to your vehicle that you must blow into before the engine starts – if it does not register any alcohol, the vehicle cranks, and you are good to go. If it registers alcohol, the vehicle will not start, and the probation department is notified.
Under the current version of SC Code § 56-5-2941, a person who is convicted of DUI, DUAC, or felony DUI must install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle unless the conviction was a first-offense DUI or DUAC.
Even for a first-offense conviction, the device must be installed if the person took the breathalyzer, and the result was .15 or greater.
Once installed, the device is managed by the Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services (probation department), and the driver is responsible for the costs of installation and supervision.
The person’s suspension/ ignition interlock period can be extended, substance abuse treatment required, or the person’s driving privileges lost completely, based on an Ignition Interlock Device Point System that is managed by the probation department.
Ignition Interlock Devices for Implied Consent Violations
Under SC Code § 56-5-2951, SC’s implied consent law, the DMV will suspend the driver’s license of any person who refuses to submit to a Datamaster/ breathalyzer test or any person who takes the breath test and the result is .15 or greater.
Under the new changes to SC DUI law, drivers who are accused of implied consent violations will be required to install an IID on their vehicles before they can drive again.
If the driver:
- Refuses to take the breathalyzer or takes the breathalyzer and the result is .15 or greater, they must install an ignition interlock device unless they request an administrative hearing,
- Requests an administrative hearing, they can obtain a temporary alcohol license (TAL) that allows them to drive – without restrictions or an IID – until their hearing date,
- Wins their implied consent hearing, their driver’s license is restored without restriction, or
- Loses their implied consent hearing, they must enroll in 1) the ADSAP program and 2) the ignition interlock device program within 30 days.
Ignition Interlock Devices for DUI Convictions
When a person is convicted of DUI or DUAC in South Carolina, they will now be required to install an IID on their vehicle, even for a first offense.
The length of time that the device must be installed increases based on the number of prior offenses the person has within the past ten years:
- First offense: six months,
- Second offense: two years,
- Third offense: three years, or four years if the third offense occurs within five years of the date of the first offense, or
- Fourth or subsequent offense: an ignition interlock device must be installed for the remainder of the person’s life.
Other Changes to SC DUI Law in 2023
The 2023 changes to SC DUI law include many additional amendments to existing laws related to the ignition interlock device program.
Additional changes include:
- SC’s “zero tolerance” license suspensions for persons under the age of 21 who drive with a BAC of .02 or greater is amended to allow the person to install an ignition interlock device in lieu of a license suspension or request a contested case hearing with the DMV,
- Changes to SC’s habitual traffic offender law will permit some habitual traffic offenders to drive with an IID if they enter the ignition interlock device program,
- Some individuals who receive a temporary alcohol license (TAL) will be required to install an IID (but not those who request an implied consent hearing for refusal or a BAC of .15 or greater),
- Motorcycles and moped drivers are exempted from the ignition interlock device requirements, and
- A person who has a lifetime IID requirement for a conviction on or after October 1, 2014, can apply to the probation department to have their device removed.
How do you avoid an ignition interlock device requirement when you have been charged with DUI or DUAC in SC?
Talk to an experienced DUI lawyer in Charleston, SC immediately – before your initial court date.
Do not plead guilty to DUI or DUAC.
If your license is suspended for a breath test refusal or a BAC result of .15 or greater, request an implied consent hearing immediately and do not waive your hearing.
DUI Lawyers in Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC DUI defense attorney Grant B. Smaldone focuses his law practice on criminal defense and DUI defense in the Charleston, SC area.
If you have been charged with DUI, DUAC, or any DUI-related offense, call Grant B. Smaldone now at (843) 808-2100 or contact us through our website to talk to a Charleston, SC DUI defense lawyer today.