South Carolina First DUI

SC First Offense DUI Laws Explained in Easy to Understand Simple Terms

The following information applies specifically to a first offense DUI. For details about subsequent offenses, visit our comprehensive South Carolina DUI Laws and Penalties page.

If you have been charged with a South Carolina DUI, and you have not had any other alcohol-related driving offenses in the past 10 years, then this will be considered your first offense.

If you have been arrested for a first offense DUI, you should contact an experienced South Carolina DUI lawyer immediately. South Carolina DUI law is complex, and you will want an expert to guide you through it. A DUI lawyer will help you do the very best you can in court and will make sure that you are treated fairly every step of the way. A DUI conviction stays on your criminal record for the rest of your life.

South Carolina First Offense DUI Penalties

A first offense DUI charge carries the following penalties:

  • 6 month suspension of your driver’s license
  • 48 hours to 90 days in jail
  • $400 to $1,000 in fines
  • Court costs
  • SR22 insurance requirement
  • ADSAP participation

Before your driver’s license will be reinstated following your suspension you will need to complete a SR22 filing with the DMV.

If your DUI incident resulted in serious injury to someone, your DUI becomes a felony, and your license will be suspended for 3 years. You also face prison time and fines.

If your DUI incident resulted in the death of someone, your license will be suspended for 5 years. You also face prison time and fines.

South Carolina does have an active ignition interlock program, but first time DUI offenders are not required to participate. 

South Carolina Provisional License

A first time DUI offender can qualify for a provisional license, which would allow you to drive for 6 months, as long as you are actively participating in ADSAP.

In order to apply for a provisional license, you will need to purchase SR22 insurance, enroll in ADSAP, and pay a $100 provisional license fee. 

South Carolina Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP):

ADSAP is an education and treatment program. ADSAP can cost up to $2,500 and can take up to a year to complete.

South Carolina SR22 Insurance

If you are convicted of a DUI in South Carolina, your license will be suspended. In order to get it back, or to qualify for a provisional license, you will need to purchase South Carolina SR22 insurance.

SR22 insurance is a special high risk insurance that proves to the state that you, as a high-risk driver, are in fact, fully insured. Even if you do not own a vehicle, you will need to purchase a non-owner SR22 policy.

You will be required to maintain your SR22 policy for 3 years, so you want to find a policy that you can live with. (If 3 years have already elapsed since the end of your suspension, you do not need SR22 insurance.) It is imperative that you do not let your SR22 policy lapse. If there is any break in coverage, no matter what the reason, your insurance company is required by law to notify the DMV, and your license will be suspended again.

Additional South Carolina DUI Resources