south carolina 2024 dui law

Driving under the influence is illegal. There’s no way around that. And South Carolina has seen an increase in the number of drunk or impaired drivers in recent years. That increase has led the state to crack down on DUI and, as a result, the state has passed new laws and regulations to make punishments for first-time offenses more severe. Your South Carolina DUI attorneys at Truslow & Truslow want you to be prepared. Here’s what you need to know about the new DUI laws in 2024.

Ignition Interlock Devices Are Now Mandatory

Ignition interlock devices are considered failsafe devices to prevent people under the influence from driving their vehicles. These devices require you to pass a breath test before the car will start. If your breath test shows that you have a BAC level of 0.02% or higher, the car won’t run. 

These devices have previously been reserved for DUI convictions where the driver had exceedingly high BAC levels at the time of the incident or repeat offenders. But as of 2024, ignition interlock devices are now mandatory for all convictions. 

First-Time Convictions Are No Longer Exempt

Under the previous law, ignition interlock devices were rarely used for first-time offenders. They were typically installed if the individual’s BAC level was higher than average at the time of the arrest. But if you were arrested and charged with buzzed driving, you typically didn’t have to worry about dealing with an interlock device. 

Now, all first-time offenders are required by law to install and maintain an ignition interlock device on their vehicles. 

The Goal Is to Reduce Fatalities and Accidents

The hope behind passing this new DUI law is that installing more ignition interlock devices on first-time offenders’ vehicles will reduce future accidents and fatalities. But since the law is so new, the data has yet to show whether this law will be beneficial or will just result in increased expenses for convicted drivers.

What That Means for You

If you’re found guilty of a DUI, you’ll need to have the ignition interlock device installed on any car you drive regularly. If you and your spouse trade vehicles often, you may need to install a device on their vehicle as well. This can add hundreds of dollars to your monthly bills and may put strain on your budget, especially if you’re living on a low monthly income.

Remember, you’re responsible for the purchase, installation, and maintenance of your device. Even if you use your interlock device according to instructions and are careful to make sure it’s in good working order, you’ll end up spending roughly $100 per month just to maintain the device and ensure that it’s calibrated properly. If you’re found to not have properly maintained the device or you can’t afford to maintain it after it’s installed, you could face additional penalties. 

You’ll Want to Consult With an Attorney

This new law sounds great on the surface, but it poses significant financial challenges to the majority of convicted drivers. That’s why it’s always a good idea to consult with an attorney as soon as you’re charged with driving under the influence. They’ll represent your case and may be able to show that your elevated BAC level was the result of a faulty test or incorrect sobriety screening administered by police. 

No matter who you are or how many times you’ve been convicted of DUI in the past, you still have rights and deserve fair representation. The legal system isn’t flawless and if you feel that you were unfairly charged, the sooner you get legal help, the better.

Contact Truslow & Truslow Today

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, don’t wait. Contact Truslow & Truslow today. Our experienced team is here to help you navigate the legal process and represent your case to the best of our ability.