A little more than a year ago Emma’s Law passed and was signed, bringing with it a different penalty structure for DUI offenders in South Carolina. The new law primarily has to do with requiring the use of Ignition Interlock Devices for convicted DUI offenders. Ignition Interlock Devices had been used for repeat SC DUI offenders but under the new law even some DUI first offenders will now be required to use the device.
What is an Ignition Interlock Device(IID)?
An Ignition Interlock Device is a device that connects to the ignition of a vehicle that requires the driver to breathe into a tube in order to start the car. Much like a breathalyzer that is sometimes used at traffic stops, this device is designed to prevent drivers from driving under the influence by rendering the vehicle useless when the driver blows greater than .02% breath alcohol content. Since last August cameras have also been required as part of the device to ensure that the driver does not get someone else to breathe into the device for them.
Who is required to use the device?
Under the new South Carolina law those persons convicted of a second offense DUI will be required to use the device for two years. Even first time offenders with BAC greater than .15%, nearly twice the legal limit, will be required to use the device for a period of 6 months. The highest penalty remains for those who have 4 or more DUI convictions as those offenders will be required to use the device for life.
In what other ways is sentencing different?
Those persons convicted of second offense DUI and greater will no longer be required to wait out the hard suspension period as the use of the IID has replaced that requirement. Convicted drivers are now required to use the device and are not able to ‘wait out’ the sentence since they must go through the IID program for the specified period of time before they can apply for an unrestricted license. Stiff penalties exist for those persons who are caught driving a car not equipped with an IID device. See the state IID Program for more information.
It’s important to remember:
Being charged with DUI is not the same as being convicted. If charged, you are innocent until proven guilty and have the right to a fair trial. The Lawyers of Anderson, Moore, Bailey & Nowell have extensive experience in DUI defense and are here to ensure you have the best case possible for your day in court. Don’t hesitate to call to see if we can help.