How to Protect Your Driver's License
You can lose your driver's license in South Carolina for a DUI arrest
in one of two ways. The first is for an implied consent violation. You'll
know if this applies to you case if the officer provided you with a "Notice
of Suspension Form" or if you refused any breath, urine or blood
test or submitted a test and had a reading of 0.15 or greater. The second
is if you are convicted of
DUI or DUAC in court.
Being arrested is not the same as being convicted. You are only convicted
if you plead guilty, plead no contest, or are found guilty after a trial.
Beginning in October, 2014, this information is subject to change due
to the recently passed "Emma's Law." Up until that time,
this information will apply to all South Carolina DUI cases.
Implied Consent Violations
We help our clients whose licenses were taken from them as part of a
DUI arrest get back to driving legally again, usually in about a week.
South Carolina law presumes that anyone who operates a motor vehicle will
consent to submitting to an alcohol breath test. This is called the implied
consent law. Anyone who is arrested for DUI or DUAC and fails to cooperate
with a breath or other test, or who cooperates but provides a sample of
0.15 or higher will have their driver's license immediately suspended.
Normally, but not always, the officer will keep your driver's license
and also provide you with a Notice of Suspension form.
Sometimes the officer "forgets" this step, which can cause an
unsuspecting person to later be charged with driving under suspension.
If you triggered an implied consent violation in anyway, even if you don't
believe the officer provided you with the Notice of Suspension form, you
need to take immediate action to ensure that you maintain a legal status to drive.
We help our clients by filing a challenge of any implied consent suspension
with the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings.
There is a 30 day deadline to submit this application, so it is important to contact our office as soon as possible after any
DUI arrest. We normally will submit the challenge paperwork within one
business day of being retained. Usually in 3-5 business days you will
be eligible to go to the DMV and receive a Temporary Alcohol License.
The Temporary Alcohol License is not route restricted. You can drive anywhere
in South Carolina with it just like you can with your regular driver's
license. There is a cost of $100 to receive this license. You do not have
to enroll in ADSAP first either. You will be allowed to drive on this
license for 6 months, or until there is a decision made by the Office
of Motor Vehicle Hearings.
It is important to understand that the implied consent hearing procedure
is a separate civil case, that is completely different than your criminal
DUI or DUAC charge. The outcome of the implied consent hearing doesn't
change what happens in Traffic Court, and what happens in Traffic Court
doesn't change the outcome of the implied consent hearing.
If you are an out of state resident, the implied consent law will suspend
your privileges to drive in South Carolina, even if your home state's
license remains valid. If this applies to you we can help you obtain a
driving credential that you can use must the same way as a Temporary Alcohol
License, allowing you to continue to use your regular driver's license
in South Carolina.
DUI and DUAC Suspensions
We help our clients avoid false or unnecessary DUI and DUAC convictions,
saving them from a mandatory license suspension.
Anyone who is convicted of DUI or DUAC will face administrative penalties
imposed by the DMV. Neither the officer nor the judge has any control
over the DMV penalties. They will be applied to everyone, in every case
who is convicted. These penalties will include a requirement to obtain
SR-22 car insurance, a requirement to complete ADSAP (which may also be
required by the court), and a
driver's license suspension. You are only convicted of DUI or DUAC if you plead guilty, plead no contest,
or are found guilty after a trial.
There is no reduction in the DMV penalties to those who choose to plead
guilty or no contest. If you are arrested for DUI or DUAC the only way
you can avoid these DMV penalties is if your charge is voluntarily reduced
(for example to reckless driving) or voluntarily dismissed by the prosecutor,
or if you have a trial and win either a legal dismissal or a not-guilty
verdict. Your license will be suspended for at least 6 months following
a DUI or DUAC conviction. However you can apply for a provisional license.
To be eligible, you must meet the following requirements:
- Have had a valid driver's license
- Pay a $100 application fee
- Obtain SR-22 Insurance
- Enroll or Complete the ADSAP Program
The suspension process will apply no matter who arrested you. This includes:
- Highway Patrol
- Lexington County Sheriff's Department
- Town of Lexington
- City of West Columbia
- City of Columbia
- Richland County Sheriff's Department
- Batesburg-Leesville Police Department
- Town of Irmo Police Department
- Any other South Carolina Law Enforcement Agency
Summary in Review
In every DUI case there is a possibility of a driver's license suspension.
This can come in two possible ways: on the "front end" as part
of an implied consent suspension or on the "back end" after
a DUI or DUAC conviction. By consulting with a Lexington DUI Defense Attorney
as soon as possible after an arrest, you can give yourself the best chance
of protecting your driver's license. At the Law Office of James R.
Snell, Jr., LLC, we can help our clients whose licenses were taken at
the time of their arrest get back to legally driving again, usually in
about a week.
For a free consultation with a Lexington DUI defense attorney,
contact us today at 1-888-301-6004.