In South Carolina, a person is considered as driving impaired if they have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or more. BAC is determined by three different types of tests consisting of breath tests, blood tests, and urine tests. Some drivers, including commercial truck drivers and drivers under the age of 21, are held to a higher standard and considered impaired at a lower BAC level than .08 percent. Truck drivers are considered impaired at .04 percent BAC. Drivers under 21 are considered impaired at .02 percent BAC. It is also illegal to drive under the influence of controlled substances, such as marijuana and cocaine, in South Carolina.
Many factors can contribute to how a person’s body metabolizes alcohol. A person’s weight, height, body mass index (BMI), gender, time interval between drinks, and genetics can contribute to how a person metabolizes alcohol. Many studies have been conducted on this, and the results show that BAC can vary widely between .01 and .05 percent for every drink taken, depending on these and other factors. If you are drinking, call an Uber or ask a friend to pick you up.
In South Carolina, anyone who refuses to take an alcohol-measuring test will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. However, drivers still have the right to refuse the test on the spot, also known as implied consent law. In other words, by the state granting the privilege of a driver’s license, the driver impliedly gives consent to submit to requests to take a chemical test by law enforcement. The first time one refuses to take a test, they will be subject to an automatic six-month license suspension. The second offense comes with an automatic nine-month suspension, and the third offense warrants an automatic one-year license suspension. Yet, people still drive drunk and refuse to take the test.
The penalty imposed for drunk driving will depend on one’s BAC. For a first offense, a driver may be penalized with 48 hours to 90 days in jail, up to $1,000 in fines, and a six-month license suspension. For a fourth offense, a person can be jailed for seven years, fined up to $10,000, and have their license permanently revoked. There is no option to plead down a drunk driving charge if the driver engaged in reckless conduct. This is barred by statute in the state of South Carolina. These steep penalties have been around for decades, yet drivers continue to get behind the wheel intoxicated and put everyone’s safety at risk.
A person injured in a car accident due to a drunk driver always has the right to bring a civil lawsuit for negligence to recover damages. An injured person can recover compensation for property damage, past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of consortium, and pain and suffering.
If you have been injured by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To discuss your case, contact a South Carolina car accident lawyer at Chappell, Smith & Arden today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online. We provide free consultations at our six office locations throughout South Carolina. We represent injured clients in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the counties of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.