South Carolina’s Expanded Ignition Interlock Bill

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster recently marked the passage of a new piece of legislation aimed at strengthening the state's DUI laws. S.36, also known as the Ignition Interlock Bill, was signed into law during a special ceremony held at the State House.

This new law will make it more difficult for those convicted of drunk driving to get behind the wheel while under the influence again. The Ignition Interlock Bill takes an approach to preventing repeat offenders by requiring those convicted of DUI to install interlock devices on their vehicles. Keep reading to learn more about this new law expansion.

South Carolina DUI Penalty

South Carolina has expanded its Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Program as part of the state's efforts to combat drunk driving. Under the new law, anyone convicted of driving under the influence with a blood alcohol level above 0.08% must install the device in their vehicle to prove they are sober before starting the engine.

This is an expansion of the 2014 "Emma's Law," named after a 6-year-old Emma Longstreet was killed by a drunk driver on New Year's Day in 2012. The program was originally intended for those with a blood alcohol level of 0.15% or higher or those who had a second DUI conviction. The new law expands the program to include more offenders, ultimately protecting citizens and reducing drunk driving incidents.

What Is Emma’s Law?

Emma’s Law went into effect on October 1st, 2014, and built on the existing IID Program. This law expanded on the existing IID Program by including the following:

  • Requiring a camera IID
  • Requiring first DUI offenders with a Breath Alcohol Content (BAC) of .15% or higher to complete the program
  • Removed the non-participation option in the IID Program
  • Required completion of the IID program before obtaining a non-restrictive license
  • Implements penalties for driving without the IID
  • Removed the hard suspension period associated with second and subsequent DUI offenders

Afterwards, the law was further amended by the General Assembly in May of 2015. New additions to the IID Program penalized driver enrolled in the IID Program when:

  • Tampering with the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) in their vehicle to prevent the BAIID’s proper operation or the cover the lens attached to the device
  • Allowing a third party who is not driving the vehicle to blow into the BAIID to start the car or to conduct a running retest

Making South Carolina Roads Safer

Drunk driving has been a major concern on South Carolina’s roads. According to Col. Christopher Williamson, the commander of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, 6,000 to 8,000 DUI arrests were made each year. In addition, one-third of the 1,037 traffic fatalities in the past year were due to alcohol use.

The new expansion serves as a method to promote safety for drivers on the highway. As Governor Henry McMaster noted at the ceremonial bill signing, “It’s OK to drink if you want to, and it’s OK to drive if you want to, but you can’t do both at the same time.”

Contact Our DUI Lawyers

The latest expansion of the DUI law has made it crucial to have the help of an experienced DUI attorney. If you or someone you love has been charged with a DUI, you need to seek out skilled legal representation immediately.

Our attorneys at Truslow & Truslow have the knowledge and experience necessary to meticulously investigate your case, gather and organize information, and craft a robust defense that is perfectly tailored to the details of your situation.

Don't risk suffering the harsher DUI penalties, contact our law firm today to learn how we can help you. Dial (803) 590-6688 or get in touch with us online.

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