Usually the first question our clients ask after they are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) is whether or not they are going to lose their driver’s license. No matter the circumstances, DUI is a serious offense in South Carolina. You will face penalties, but the severity of these penalties will depend on the specifics of your situation.
When discussing loss of license in relation to a first-time DUI, it is important to keep the difference between “arrest” and “conviction” in mind.
For example, a DUI arrest does not always end in losing your license. However, it may end up in an automatically suspended license if you refuse a breath test, or if the results of a breath test are .15 or higher. Your attorney can file for an administrative hearing to challenge that suspension. If you do not request this hearing, your suspension will stand until your DUI case goes to trial.
A DUI conviction, on the other hand, will likely result in a license suspension. If your license is already suspended, the suspension will start when the current suspension ends. On a first offense, the typical penalties for a DUI conviction include:
- If the individual refused to take a breath test or blew a .15 or more, a six-month enrollment in the South Carolina Ignition Interlock Program.
- A six months’ driver’s license suspension, which may be waived for a provisional license.
These are just the driver’s license sanctions. If a DUI resulted in a crash with injuries or property damage, additional penalties will be added upon conviction.
Can I get a temporary license in the meantime?
If your driver’s license has been suspended, your attorney may be able to secure you a temporary license. These can include:
- Provisional licenses. If this is a first offense, you may qualify for a provisional license – as long as you did not refuse a breath test and did not blow over .15 on the test. This license will let you drive without restriction until your case is resolved.
- Route restricted license. This license allows you to drive to work, school, and court-ordered substance abuse intervention programs. You may only receive one route restricted license in your lifetime.
- Temporary alcohol license. You can receive a license to drive without restriction until your administrative hearing (or implied consent hearing) with the help of an experienced attorney. If you win at the hearing, your suspension will be withdrawn.
How do I get my license reinstated?
Remember, once your suspension is over, your license does not get automatically reinstated. You must take a number of steps to get yourself back on the road:
- Ensure the suspension period is over, including any consecutive suspension periods.
- Ensure you have met all requirements for reinstatement, including completion of court-ordered counseling programs or community service.
- Pay all necessary reinstatement fees.
If you are facing DUI charges, Holland Law can help. Tom Holland provides strategic legal defense for DUI cases – he is here to ease your mind. We serve clients in York, Lancaster, and Chester Counties. Call today to schedule a consultation in our Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in our Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue at 803-219-2630, or reach out through our contact page.
Tom Holland previously served as the General Counsel for the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the City Solicitor for the City of Lancaster, and as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office. He is a single father, and through his own divorce gained valuable insight he now uses to provide Fort Mill and Rock Hill, SC families with the best representation. Learn more about Tom Holland.