Skip to main content

Is a DUI a Criminal Offense in South Carolina? Greenville Law Firm

Is a DUI a Criminal Offense in South Carolina? Greenville Law FirmPhoto from Unsplash

Originally Posted On:


The immediate answer to is a DUI a criminal offense in SC is YES IT IS. And if you eventually are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, this fact can stay on your criminal record for life.

Your friends may tell you that a DUI conviction “falls off” your record in three years. Probably what they are referring to is your SC driving record. When it comes to your criminal record a DUI conviction in South Carolina stays visible permanently. This means that when you apply for a new job your future employer can see you were convicted of drunk driving no matter how many years ago it was.

The State of South Carolina also uses a 10-year “washout” period or “look-back” period for counting DUI offenses on your driving record. If your DUI conviction is older than ten (10) years, it may not count as a prior offense for criminal sentencing purposes, but it will still be on your lifetime driving record and criminal conviction history.

However, any conviction for a 2nd DUI in ten years will have mandatory increased punishment, over whatever your 1st DUI conviction required. Likewise, the restrictions and impact on your driving privileges will be longer and more onerous than for the DUI first offense.

For nearly the last decade, the Palmetto State has had a 3rd DUI felony offense if that third DUI occurred within the past decade. For counting purposes, the SC DMV looks at “dates-of-arrest” to determine what constitutes a felony third offense DUI in SC. With such cases, jail time is lengthy and the impact on driving offenses will be painful.

So, that conviction will show up on your criminal record for life. Currently, South Carolina has no expungement option. In other States expungement means that your first offense DUI conviction can be removed from your criminal record. That is not the case in South Carolina. Now you know the answer to, “Is DUI a criminal offense?”

Call now to speak with our criminal attorneys near me in Upstate SC, and receive your free consultation lawyer phone call, virtual meeting or in-person consult with our South Carolina criminal lawyers. Contact us at 864-271-3535.

Our Greenville South Carolina criminal defense firm handles both misdemeanor and felony cases. When we meet with you during your initial free consultation and case review, we will gather the facts about what happened, and also look at the charges that appear on your citations.Typically during a DUI arrest you are charged with more than just drunk driving . You may have several citations that were given to you as you left jail. For example, you also can be charged with improper lane change, reckless driving, speeding, or running a red light. When we represent you, we will fight all charges.

Data & News supplied by
Stock quotes supplied by Barchart
Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes.
By accessing this page, you agree to the following
Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.