Is DUI A Misdemeanor or Felony In South Carolina?

Posted by on Oct 11, 2016 in DUI

In whatever state of the United States you are in, driving under the influence or DUI is a serious offense that carries huge repercussions on the part of the offender. In South Carolina, DUI is an administrative and criminal offense. However, getting convicted for DUI does not necessarily mean a felony offense. According to the website of Truslow & Truslow, Attorneys at Law, DUI charges can be life altering.

In most instances, first offense DUI is usually a misdemeanor if there was no injury involved. But how does a misdemeanor DUI offense become a felony in South Carolina? There are three conditions that can result to the elevation of misdemeanor DUI to felony.

1. Death or Bodily Injury
When the DUI offense causes bodily injury or death to another person, the plaintiff commits a felony DUI. In criminal law, a bodily injury causes one of the following:

  • Permanent disfigurement
  • Loss or impairment of an organ or bodily member
  • An increased risk of death
  • When elevated to felony, the plaintiff can be subjected to a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 30 days to a maximum of 15 years and pay a fine ranging from $5,000 to $10,000.

2. A Minor Passenger
When the offender has a passenger who is below 16 years old, they may be charged with child endangerment aside from DUI. If the offense results to injury or death of the child, the offense becomes felony. The associated charge is imprisonment of up to half the time associated with DUI charge and a fine of up to half the maximum fine associated with DUI.

3, A Third Offense
A third DUI offense automatically elevates the charge into felony. A third conviction comes with a three year imprisonment and a fine of up to $12,000 when the driver’s BAC is below 0.10. For higher BAC, the fine may be increased.

A felony DUI may result to administrative penalties depending on the frequency of the offense. A first offense could result to license suspension of six months. For second conviction, it could mean indefinite suspension of the license.

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