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Can an Out-of-State DUI Affect My License in South Carolina?

Posted by Tom Holland | Jan 25, 2023 | 0 Comments

Can an Out-of-State DUI Affect My License in South Carolina?
There are many reasons we travel out of South Carolina: a wedding, funeral, baby shower, or maybe we're just on a road trip down to Disney World to have fun with the family. Whatever the reason, it's important to know the laws of the state that you're driving in, should you be pulled over for drinking under the influence.

If you are arrested for driving under the influence in another state, those penalties WILL transfer to South Carolina. We are part of the National Driver Registry. That means that if you get busted outside of the state for driving under the influence, a record of what happened is sent to South Carolina, and you will be subject to all the various penalties associated with a conviction.

However, there is one “loophole” in all of this, and it has to do with implied consent violations.

What is implied consent?

Implied consent is a motor vehicle law dictating that simply by the act of driving, you consent to any BAC chemical tests an authorized police officer may order.

According to ImpliedConsent.org, implied consent laws include:

  • Producing a driver's license and proof of insurance when asked.
  • Consenting to blood, urine, or breath tests to determine your blood-alcohol content if requested.
  • Performing field sobriety tests if requested.

If you say no to taking the requested tests, or refusing to follow the other laws of implied consent, there are penalties. If you refuse to comply with the implied consent laws when you are pulled over for DUI in your home state of South Carolina, then the penalties are that your privilege to drive will be suspended or denied for at least six months, and that your refusal can be used against you in court.

What if I refuse a breath test when pulled over for DUI out of state?

While every state has some variation of implied consent laws, if you are not from that particular state, then you should not receive penalties for merely refusing to take the chemical test. If you are found not guilty of driving under the influence, and you did not comply with the implied consent laws, then you should not receive any penalties when you return home to South Carolina. Your Fort Mill and Rock Hill DUI defense attorney can explain this in full.

The danger here lies in most people not understanding that they have the right to refuse these tests when driving out of state. Many drivers simply agree to whatever the arresting officer asks of them, even if they haven't had a drop to drink. And, when they do test over the legal limit for alcohol, then they must face the consequences of driving while intoxicated.

If you are charged with DUI in another state, but you did not take any chemical tests that prove that you were intoxicated, then any good DUI lawyer can demonstrate that without  evidence to prove you were driving under the influence, the case should be thrown out.

However, if you do submit to the tests, and your blood alcohol content (BAC) tests over the legal limit, then you will be penalized for DUI, and those penalties will transfer over when you return home to South Carolina.

What are the penalties for driving under the influence?

Unfortunately, if you are convicted of driving under the influence in another state, you must be penalized for DUI as per that state's laws, as well as any additional penalties that you may be face when you return to South Carolina.

According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, the penalties include:

  • A fine of up to $400 ($992 with assessments and surcharges) and/or imprisonment from 48 hours to 30 days and suspension of your driver's license for six months for a first offense.
  • A fine of $2,100 to $5,100 ($10,744.50 with assessments and surcharges) and imprisonment from five days to one year and suspension of your driver's license for one year for a second offense.
  • A fine of $3,800 to $6,300 ($13,234.50 with assessments and surcharges) and imprisonment from 60 days to three years and suspension of your driver's license for two years for a third offense. If the third offense occurs within five years of the first offense, your driver's license is suspended for four years. If the third or subsequent offense occurs within 10 years of the first offense, the vehicle used must be confiscated if the offender is the owner or a resident of the household of the owner.
  • Imprisonment from one to five years and permanent revocation of your driver's license for a fourth or subsequent offense.

These are not the only penalties you face, either. Along with fines and potential jail or prison time, you may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle, or attend alcohol rehabilitation counseling. You could lose your professional license(s) or your security clearance, which means you could end up losing your job. Students could lose campus housing or scholarships, depending on their school's rules.

As you can see, getting a DUI in another state can indeed affect your license in South Carolina. Not only do you have to face the consequences of the laws in the state in which you were arrested, but also the laws for DUI in South Carolina as well. That is why it is pertinent that you call a Fort Mill or Rock Hill DUI defense lawyer from Holland Law as soon as you are arrested.

We can see how important it is to know your rights outside of your home state of South Carolina. While our state has penalties for refusing to take a breath or other chemical test when you are pulled over for DUI; if you are in another state, it is generally in your best interest to refuse their laws of implied consent. This is exactly when you should contact your lawyer as well, as they will be able to ensure that you are not found guilty due to their lack of evidence against you.

At Holland Law LLC, we know exactly how to handle these sorts of situations, and we will do what we can to lessen any penalties against you. To schedule a consultation with an experienced DUI defense lawyer, call us at 803-219-2630 or use our contact page. Our firm has offices located in Fort Mill and Rock Hill. We also proudly serve the people of York, Chester, and Lancaster Counties.

About the Author

Tom Holland

Experienced Divorce, DUI, and Criminal Defense Attorney While I've been primarily focused on the practice of divorce and family law for the past decade, my experience as a criminal prosecutor has continued to serve my clients well. I previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster Cou...


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