DUI-Related Offenses in SC

In addition to driving under the influence charges, there are many criminal offenses in SC that are DUI-related, including offenses that may be charged instead of DUI or offenses that may accompany DUI charges.

Below, I’ll review the more commonly charged DUI-related offenses in SC, including:

  • DUI, DUAC, and felony DUI charges,
  • SC crimes that are similar to DUI, like BUI and FUI,
  • DUI administrative/ implied consent proceedings, and
  • Other DUI-related charges.

DUI-Related Offenses/ Driving Under the Influence Charges in SC

There are three types of driving under the influence charges under SC law – DUI, DUAC, and felony DUI:

DUI or driving under the influence is the DUI offense most people are familiar with and is found in SC Code § 56-5-2930. If you are charged with DUI (1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th or subsequent offense), the State must prove:

  • That you were driving a motor vehicle within the state of SC,
  • While under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
  • To the extent that your faculties to drive were materially and appreciably impaired.

DUAC or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration is similar to DUI but requires proof of different elements to get a conviction, found in SC Code § 56-5-2933. How is DUAC different from DUI?

The State does not have to prove that you were intoxicated to the extent that your faculties to drive were materially and appreciably impaired. If you are charged with DUAC (1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th or subsequent offense) the State only needs to prove:

  • That you were driving a motor vehicle within the state of SC,
  • While your blood alcohol concentration was .08 or higher.

Felony DUI is charged when there is a DUI-related accident, and someone is seriously injured or killed. Found in SC Code § 56-5-2945, a felony DUI requires proof that:

  • You were driving a motor vehicle,
  • While under the influence of alcohol or drugs,
  • While driving, you negligently caused an accident, and
  • Your negligence resulted in great bodily injury or death to another person.

Administrative Proceedings Related to DUI Charges

Implied consent suspensions are considered “administrative” as opposed to criminal proceedings, but they often accompany DUI or DUAC charges in SC.

If you 1) refuse the breathalyzer or other alcohol test, or 2) take the test and the result is .15 or greater, your license will be taken by the arresting officer or Datamaster operator. If you want to avoid the license suspension, ADSAP requirements, and possibly an ignition interlock device (IID) requirement, you must request an implied consent hearing within 30 days of your arrest.

Zero tolerance law for underage drivers – another DUI-related administrative proceeding is when a minor’s license is suspended under SC’s “zero tolerance” law. SC Code § 56-1-286 says that, instead of charging a minor with DUI, the officer can suspend the minor’s driver’s license if the minor is younger than 21 years of age and drives a motor vehicle with a BAC of .02 or greater.

DUI-Related Offenses/ Criminal Charges Similar to DUI

If you are driving a motor vehicle while impaired, you might be charged with DUI. But what if you are driving a boat, a plane, or some other type of vehicle?

Boating under the influence or BUI is found in SC Code § 50-21-112, and it is charged when a person is accused of driving a “moving motorized water device or water device under sail upon the waters of this state” while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Flying under the influence or FUI is found in SC Code § 55-1-100 and applies to both pilots and flight crew.

FUI is when a person operates an aircraft or acts as a flight crew member:

  • Within eight hours of drinking alcohol,
  • While under the influence of alcohol,
  • While using an illegal drug or controlled substance that affects the person’s faculties in an unsafe manner, or
  • With a BAC of .04 or higher.

Alcohol-Related Offenses that May Accompany DUI Charges

There are other DUI-related or alcohol-related offenses that may be charged in addition to DUI or instead of DUI in SC, including:

  • Child endangerment – under SC Code § 56-5-2947, a person can be charged with child endangerment if there is a child younger than 16 years of age in the vehicle at the time of the incident if the person is charged with DUI, DUAC, felony DUI, or failure to stop for a blue light.
  • Open container in a vehicle – when an open container of alcohol is found in the vehicle, this is usually 1) charged as a separate offense and 2) may be used as evidence against you to prove the DUI allegations,
  • Public disorderly conduct – gross intoxication in public is one way to prove public disorderly conduct charges, and police will often charge a passenger with disorderly conduct if the driver is charged with DUI and the passenger is also intoxicated,
  • Public intoxication –similar to the gross intoxication element of disorderly conduct charges, but public intoxication is often charged under a municipal or county code of ordinances, and
  • Minor in possession of alcohol – is often charged when the driver or passenger is a minor younger than 21 years of age and alcohol is found in the vehicle.

DUI Defense Lawyers in Charleston, SC

Grant B. Smaldone is a SC DUI defense lawyer based in Charleston, SC.

If you have been charged with a crime in state or federal court in SC, call now at (843) 808-2100 or contact us online to talk to a Charleston, SC criminal defense attorney today.


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