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What is the state law for felony driving under the influence?

South Carolina residents who find themselves placed under arrest for driving under the influence will likely be worried and fearful about what the future holds. Depending on the incident that precipitated the arrest, the penalties in the event of a conviction can vary. One serious charge involves a felony for driving under the influence and the definition of "great bodily injury" under the law. Having a grasp of this and what it means is integral to a strong DUI defense.

If a person drives under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any combination and does so with an amount in their system that violates the law and causes great bodily injury or death to another, that person will likely be charged with a felony for driving under the influence. The penalties for a conviction on these charges can be the following: a fine of a minimum of $5,100 and a maximum of $10,100 plus a mandatory jail sentence of a minimum of 30 days and a maximum of 15 years if there is great bodily injury. There will be a fine of a minimum of $10,100 and a maximum of $25,100 with a mandatory jail sentence of at least one year and a maximum of 25 years if there is a fatality. There will be no suspended sentence and there cannot be probation as part of the sentence.

Great bodily injury means that there is a substantial danger of death or injuries that lead to serious, permanent disfigurement, or a protracted loss or a body member or organ being impaired. The driver's license will be suspended if there is a conviction. Once the person has been released from incarceration, that person will be required to take part in the Ignition Interlock Device Program. This device must be attached to the driver's vehicle for three years if there was a great bodily injury and five years if there was a death. The driver must blow into the device intermittently to ensure that the person has not been drinking.

Given the financial and personal penalties that can accompany a conviction for felony driving under the influence, it is imperative to plan for a strong DUI defense. Those who are placed under arrest after an incident that has led to DUI charges may need to get more information from a Pawleys Island South Carolina DUI defense attorney.

Source: scstatehouse.gov, "SECTION 56-5-2945 -- Offense of felony driving under the influence; penalties; 'great bodily injury' defined.," accessed on March 13, 2017

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