Alternative DUI penalties

All South Carolina residents who are convicted of driving under the influence are required by state law to participate in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program, which is provided by the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. The program provides educational and treatment services that are designed to improve road safety in South Carolina by helping DUI offenders to address their alcohol or drug problems.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety will not restore the driving privileges of an individual convicted of DUI until they have completed the ADSAP program. However, those convicted of their first drunk driving offense or their first DUI in 10 years may apply for a provisional driver's license that will allow them to drive while they participate in the program. Individuals who are not eligible for a provisional license could still qualify for a restricted driver's license.

Individuals who are required to take part in the program must enroll within 30 days of their conviction. Failing to enroll or not turning up for classes or treatments could prompt further action from the court. Enrollees are assessed to determine the nature of their substance abuse problems and then and educational and treatment program is drawn up for them. The program can take up to 12 months to complete when problems are serious. The educational part of the program costs $500 and the treatments can cost as much as $2,000. Offenders are expected to bear these costs.

The penalties for a drunk driving conviction in South Carolina include jail time, fines, community service and probation, and motorists with a DUI on their record pay higher automobile insurance premiums and could face difficulties finding a job or a place to live. Experienced criminal defense attorneys could help those accused of drunk driving by explaining the mitigating factors that could reduce these penalties and the ways toxicology test results may be challenged.

Source: The South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, "DUI Intervention Services", accessed on Oct. 16, 2019

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