Drivers in South Carolina who are pulled over for suspicion of driving while intoxicated may find themselves in a dilemma when asked if they are willing to take a roadside breathalyzer test. Some may think that by taking the test they are actually doing more harm to their case. With a good attorney, refusing the test may help with the defense but there are other consequences involved with refusing the test that may make many drivers reconsider their decision.
FindLaw states that South Carolina operates under implied consent law. This means that when a motorist applies for a driver's license he or she is giving consent to any chemical or field sobriety test if they are stopped for suspicion of driving impaired. If a driver refuses any of these tests, he or she faces additional consequences in conjunction with penalties associated with a DUI conviction. Refusing a breathalyzer results in an automatic six-month license suspension, and this may be a longer period of time for repeat violations.
In addition to license suspension, the County of Lexington outlines other penalties a DUI conviction can lead to in the state of South Carolina. These are as follows:
- First offense - fine of $400 or jail time up to 30 days
- Second offense - fine ranging from $2,100 to $5,100 and jail time ranging from five days to one year
- Third offense - fine ranging from $3,800 to $6,300 and imprisonment ranging from 60 days to three years
- Fourth or subsequent offense - imprisonment ranging from one to five years
The fine amounts and jail time can be increased depending on the driver's BAC.