How Long Will I Go to Jail for a Second DUI in South Carolina?


As in all other states, driving while under the influence (DUI) of alcohol is not only incredibly dangerous but also a serious crime. When a motorist is impaired, their critical driving skills are diminished, making it harder for them to judge distance, speed, and the movements of other vehicles also navigating the roadways. Essentially, alcohol blunts alertness and impairs reaction time. Therefore, you should not take this charge lightly, whether it’s your first, second, third, or subsequent offense. These offenses can result in a permanent criminal record, hefty fines, losing your driving privileges, and jail time. If you have been charged with a second DUI offense, it’s essential to understand that it will come with much harsher penalties than a first offense. Please continue reading to learn the potential penalties for a second offense in South Carolina and how a talented Chesterfield County DUI Lawyer can help combat your charges. 

What Happens if I’m Charged With a Second DUI in South Carolina?

If a motorist receives a DUI charge within ten years of a prior conviction, then this would be considered a second DUI offense. The severity of the potential penalties for this crime in South Carolina increases with each subsequent offense. However, other factors can impact the severity of your penalties, such as your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and whether there are any aggravating factors. For a first offense, you’ll face fines between $400 and $1,000. However, this increases to between $5,100 and $6,500.

Moreover, a second DUI offense can lead to serving severe jail time. In South Carolina, judges have broad discretion when imposing a criminal sentence on repeat offenders. For a first-offense DUI with a BAC of .16% or higher, you could face up to 90 days of incarceration. However, with a second offense DUI with a BAC of .16% or higher, you could face up to three years of imprisonment.

Is a Subsequent Offense a Felony?

In many states, DUI offenses are categorized as misdemeanor or felony offenses. In South Carolina, a third DUI offense is classified as a felony. Therefore, a second DUI offense would be considered a misdemeanor offense. The consequences of a felony offense extend far beyond just the court-imposed sentence. A felony conviction can make finding a job, obtaining a loan, gaining acceptance to specific universities, and attaining financial aid can be challenging. Furthermore, a felony conviction will forfeit certain rights.

As you can see, the penalties for a subsequent offense are severe and can haunt you for the rest of your life. If you’ve been charged with a subsequent DUI offense within ten years of a prior conviction, please don’t hesitate to contact a dedicated lawyer from the Cockrell Law Firm, P.C., who can defend your rights and shield you from harsh penalties.