south carolina DUIs and ignition interlock devices

South Carolina takes driving under the influence incredibly seriously. The punishments are some of the strictest in the nation. While many convictions can result in jail time, high fines, and driver’s license suspensions, those punishments aren’t all you could face. You’ll also be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle if you want to be able to drive after your conviction. Here’s what your South Carolina DUI defense attorney wants you to understand about DUIs in the state and how ignition interlock devices factor into your punishment. 

Ignition Interlock Devices Are Required Even for First-Time Offenders

Recently, South Carolina passed a law requiring ignition interlock devices on cars belonging to or used by individuals with DUI convictions. This law applies to everyone, whether you’re convicted of your first offense or your fourth. 

These devices are designed to keep you from getting behind the wheel after you’ve had too much to drink. They work similarly to the breath test performed at DUI checkpoints and at roadside sobriety stops. But rather than simply measuring the alcohol on your breath, they either allow or prevent your car from starting. If you’ve had too much and blow into the device, your car won’t start. But if you’re below the specified limit allowed by the device, your car should start without issue.

These Devices Aren’t Foolproof

Though these devices can prevent repeat DUI charges, they’re not foolproof. Just like the breath test used by law enforcement, you could blow a false positive even when you haven’t had anything to drink. 

Some medications, chewing gums, breath mints, and mouthwashes can cause you to blow a false positive. Since there’s no easy workaround, you’ll either need to find a different way to get where you need to go after blowing a false positive, wait until your breath clears, or avoid using products containing alcohol or sugar alcohol prior to driving.

Can You Request Removal of the Device?

Yes. The state may allow the removal of the device after a set time provided you haven’t been convicted of additional DUIs during that time frame. For first offenders, you’re typically required to leave the device in your vehicle for six months. For second offenses, you’ll need to leave the device in place for two years. For third offenses, the ignition interlock device will stay in place for three years. If you’re convicted of driving under the influence for a fourth time, you may be required to leave the device in place for life, but you should be able to request removal after five years.

Keep in mind that it’s up to the court to determine if removing the device is safe and acceptable. If you’ve been a responsible driver for at least five years after your conviction and haven’t been involved in any DUIs, they may agree to remove the device. Your South Carolina DUI defense attorney will be able to help.

Can You Contest the Installation of the Device?

Ultimately, if you’re convicted of DUI in South Carolina, you’ll be required to have the device on your car. But that doesn’t mean you can’t present a case arguing why you shouldn’t be convicted of DUI. 

There are many reasons why a DUI charge can and should be overturned. Your South Carolina DUI defense attorney will be able to review your case and represent your interests in court. 

Contact Truslow & Truslow Today

If you’ve been charged with a DUI, make sure you have quality representation from the very beginning. At Truslow & Truslow, our South Carolina DUI defense attorneys will help you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.