Being charged with driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious matter, but it is even more so when the driver is under the legal drinking age. In South Carolina, the legal drinking age is 21, and the state has a zero-tolerance policy for underage drinking and driving. This means that if a driver under the age of 21 is found to have any amount of alcohol in their system, they can be charged with DUI.
At the Bruce Law Firm, we understand that young people make mistakes. We also know that a DUI conviction can have a lasting impact on a young person's life. Our Rock Hill underage DUI attorney is here to help you understand your rights and options and to fight for the best possible outcome in your case.
What Is the Legal Limit for Underage DUI in South Carolina?
For drivers who are 21 years of age or older, the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%. However, for drivers who are under the age of 21, the legal limit is much lower. In fact, it is 0.02%, which is essentially a zero-tolerance policy.
It is important to note that a BAC of 0.02% is not very high. In fact, it is possible to reach this level after consuming just one drink. For example, a 120-pound person who consumes one 12-ounce beer with a 5% alcohol content will have a BAC of about 0.02%.
Because the legal limit is so low, it is relatively easy for a minor to be charged with DUI. If you or your child has been charged with underage DUI, it is crucial that you reach out to an experienced attorney right away.
What Are the Penalties for Underage DUI in South Carolina?
Underage DUI is a criminal offense in South Carolina. As such, a conviction will result in a permanent criminal record. This can make it difficult to find employment, secure housing, and even obtain a loan. Additionally, a DUI conviction can lead to increased insurance rates and other consequences.
Penalties for underage DUI in South Carolina include:
- First offense: 6-month license suspension, $400 fine, and mandatory completion of an alcohol and drug safety action program
- Second offense: 1-year license suspension, $2,100 fine, and mandatory completion of an alcohol and drug safety action program
- Third offense: 2-year license suspension, $5,000 fine, and mandatory completion of an alcohol and drug safety action program
It is important to note that these are just the criminal penalties for an underage DUI conviction. In addition to these penalties, you will also face administrative penalties from the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This includes a license suspension of 3 months for a first offense, 6 months for a second offense, and 1 year for a third offense.
Can I Get My Underage DUI Expunged?
Having a criminal record can make it difficult to find a job, secure housing, and even obtain a loan. Fortunately, South Carolina law allows for the expungement of certain criminal records, including those related to underage DUI.
Under South Carolina Code of Laws Section 22-5-910, you may be eligible to have your underage DUI conviction expunged if you meet certain criteria. This includes having no other criminal convictions, no other traffic violations, and no other alcohol-related offenses. Additionally, you must have completed all the terms of your sentence, including any probation, community service, and/or alcohol and drug safety action program requirements.
At the Bruce Law Firm, we can help you understand if you are eligible for an underage DUI expungement and guide you through the process. Our Rock Hill underage DUI lawyer is here to help you fight for a clean slate.
How Can a Lawyer Help with My Underage DUI Case?
Being charged with underage DUI can be a frightening experience, especially if it is your first time facing criminal charges. You may be unsure of what to do next or how to protect your rights. That is where we come in.
At the Bruce Law Firm, we are committed to providing the personalized legal representation you need and deserve. When you choose us to handle your underage DUI case, we will take the time to listen to your story, answer your questions, and address your concerns. We will then get to work building a strong defense strategy on your behalf.
Our Rock Hill underage DUI attorney has extensive experience handling these types of cases. We know the law, and we know the most effective defense strategies. We will fight to protect your rights and your future every step of the way.
Get the Legal Help You Need Today
If you or your child has been charged with underage DUI, it is important that you reach out to an experienced attorney right away. At the Bruce Law Firm, we are committed to providing the aggressive legal representation you need and deserve. Our Rock Hill underage DUI lawyer will fight to protect your rights and your future.