drunk driver face on wheel with blue and red police lights behind him

What Happens When You Are Convicted of DUI Multiple Times

A DUI charge is stressful enough, but the stress escalates when you have past convictions on your record. Let’s discuss what happens with subsequent DUI convictions, if you have opportunities for record expungement, and everything else you need to know about repeat DUI in South Carolina.

Second Offense DUI in SC

The lookback period in South Carolina is 10 years. This means that any new DUIs within 10 years of your initial conviction will be considered repeat offenses.

If you are arrested for DUI for the second time, there is some good news. This charge is still a misdemeanor offense.

The penalties increase slightly from a first offense to a second offense. A first offense DUI is punishable by:

  • 48 hours to one year in jail
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • Completion of a drug and alcohol safety program

A second DUI is punishable by:

  • Five days to three years in jail
  • Up to $6,500 in fines
  • Completion of a drug and alcohol safety program

Another caveat of having a second DUI on your record is the overarching message that you did not learn from your first mistake. This could play a factor in your sentencing, as the judge may be less lenient for subsequent DUI offenses.

Third Offense DUI

A third offense DUI is a felony in some states, but in South Carolina, it is still a misdemeanor charge.

These penalties increase to:

  • 60 days to three years in jail
  • A fine of up to $7,500
  • Completion of a drug and alcohol safety program

Fourth Offense Felony DUI

Your fourth DUI within 10 years will be considered a felony offense.

For a 4th DUI, the penalties include:

  • Up to five years incarceration
  • Permanent license revokation

Additional Penalties

Some penalties may be given for a first, second, or third DUI offense.

  • License suspension: If convicted of DUI, it’s highly likely that your license will be suspended for an extended period of time. The length of the suspension will increase with each subsequent charge.
  • Ignition Interlock Device Program: Though most drivers will have their license suspended, they are also eligible for the ignition interlock device program. This program involves having a breathalyzer installed in the driver’s vehicle. In order to start their car, they must take and pass a breath test. This gives individuals with DUIs more independence to travel as needed while keeping tabs on their drinking.
  • Probation: This allows the driver to avoid jail time and remain free while following a strict set of conditions to keep them out of trouble.
  • Job Loss: If you are a commercial driver, you will be unable to work while your license is suspended. You also face the permanent loss of your commercial driver’s license after repeat offenses.

What To Do If You’re Facing Repeat Charges

If you’re being charged with your second, third, or fourth DUI, it’s important to take immediate action for your defense. One of the first things you should do is contact a DUI defense attorney. There are many important aspects of a DUI case, and an experienced lawyer will know what facts should be included to help your defense. Contact us at Joe Good, Attorney at Law to share the details of your arrest with our attorney who specializes in DUI defense.

Other things you should keep in mind include:

  • Not discussing the case: Keep talking about your case to a minimum, and definitely don’t post about it online.
  • Request a license suspension hearing: You have 30 days to request a DMV hearing where you can contest your license suspension. You do not want to miss this deadline, so get started right away. Your attorney can also assist you with preparation for this hearing.
  • Begin thinking about your plea: Begin weighing your options for pleading guilty or not guilty, as your plea choice will have repercussions both ways. Your attorney can provide valuable insight about which choice gives you the best chance of a favorable result.

Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina DUI Defense 

If you are facing DUI charges in the Mt. Pleasant or Charleston area, give attorney Joe Good a call at (843) 773-4443. He’s here to get you back on your feet.