Is a DUAC the same as a DUI in South Carolina? – SeiferFlatow, PLLC

Is a DUAC the same as a DUI in South Carolina? – SeiferFlatow, PLLC

In South Carolina, there are two serious drunk driving charges that drivers can face if pulled over while intoxicated: DUI and DUAC. While most drivers know what a DUI charge is, many clients question whether a DUAC is the same thing.   

Is a DUAC the same as a DUI in South Carolina? – SeiferFlatow, PLLC

DUAC stands for “driving with unlawful alcohol concentration,” which South Carolina law defines as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher; DUI, on the other hand, stands for “driving under the influence,” which South Carolina law defines as driving under the influence/DUI as driving under the influence of a substance (ie, alcohol or drugs) to the extent that your faculties to drive are materially and appreciably impaired. While these two charges are very similar and equally as serious, they are not the same charge.

Unlike with a DUI, a prosecutor does not need to prove that you were driving dangerously or that your faculties to drive were impaired in order to charge you with a DUAC. The DUAC charge relies solely on your blood alcohol concentration being above an unlawful limit, rather than the element of impairment while driving.

Sometimes the State will offer to let you plead guilty to DUAC in order to avoid a DUI charge, which leads many drivers to believe that DUAC is a lesser offense. It is not. A DUAC charge is still a drunk driving charge, can have serious consequences, and cannot be expunged from your record. 

The penalty you face for a DUAC conviction will depend on the number of DUAC convictions you have amassed and your BAC at the time of the offense.

First offense:

  • BAC of .08% to .10%: a $400 fine or imprisonment for a period ranging from 48 hours to 30 days. The court can also offer 48 hours of community service instead of the 48-hour imprisonment. However, penalties for a first DUAC offense increase with a higher BAC.
  • BAC of .10% to .16%: a $500 fine or imprisonment for a period of 72 hours to 30 days or 72 hours of community service.
  • BAC greater than .16%: a $1000 fine or imprisonment for a period of 30 to 90 days or 30 days of community service.

Second offense:

  • BAC of .08% to .10%: a fine of $2,100 to $5,100 and imprisonment for a period of five days to one year.
  • BAC of .10% to .16%: a fine of $2,500 to $5,500 and imprisonment for a period of 30 days to two years.
  • BAC greater than .16%: a fine of $3,500 to $6,500 and imprisonment for a period of 90 days to three years.

Third offense:

  • BAC of .08% to .10%: a fine of $3,800 to $6,300 and imprisonment for a period of 60 days to three years.
  • BAC of .10% to .16%: a fine of $5,000 to $7,500 and imprisonment for a period of 90 days to four years.
  • BAC greater than .16%: a fine of $7,500 to $10,000 and imprisonment for a period of six months to five years.

Fourth or subsequent offense:

  • BAC of .08% to .10%: imprisonment for a period of one to five years.
  • BAC of .10% to .16%: imprisonment for a period of two to six years.
  • BAC greater than .16%: imprisonment for a period of three to seven years.

A DUAC charge can have heavy consequences and a negative impact on your life if you’re convicted. Don’t risk facing these charges alone. The legal team at SeiferFlatow is experienced in fighting DUI and DUAC charges in South Carolina and will work with you to create a strong case to defend against these charges. Contact our South Carolina office to speak with an attorney or schedule a consultation today.

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