Emma’s Law increases the penalties for certain classes of DUI and DUAC offenses
Once again, the South Carolina legislature has passed a new DUI law. The new DUI law referred to as “Emma’s Law” will take effect on October 1, 2014, and will increase penalties for certain DUI and DUAC offenses including a first offense conviction. More than ever, you may need a DUI defense lawyer to protect your rights. If you have been charged with a DUI or DUAC in South Carolina, contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer at Pisarik Law Firm to discuss your DUI defense or DUAC defense. It won’t cost you anything to discuss your case with an experienced DUI lawyer and member of the National College for DUI Defense. Call 803-415-2733
New DUI law requires a person convicted of a first offense DUI or DUAC with a blood alcohol score of .15 or higher install an ignition interlock system in their vehicle
The most notable change to the South Carolina DUI law coming from “Emma’s Law” is that a person that is convicted of a first offense DUI or DUAC with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 or higher will now be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. An ignition interlock device is a machine attached to the inside of a motor vehicle that requires a driver provide breath samples at various times before and during the operation of that vehicle.
Under previous DUI law, only second or subsequent DUI and DUAC convictions required installation of an ignition interlock system. First offense DUI and DUAC convictions were exempt from this requirement. However, now anyone convicted of a first offense DUI or DUAC with a breath score over a .15 will be required to have the system installed. For this type of DUI or DUAC first offense conviction, the ignition interlock system will be required for six months.
Under new DUI law, a person who refuses a breath test and is convicted of a first offense DUI will be ineligible for a provisional license
Registering a breath score over .15 is not the only type of first offense DUI that will see increased penalties with the new DUI law. Under the new SC Code Section 56-5-2990 a person who refuses to take a breath test and is ultimately convicted of a first offense DUI will also face a harsh new reality. Under the old DUI law, a person who refused to submit to a breath test and was convicted of a first offense DUI was still eligible for a provisional license during their six month suspension period.
However, Emma’s Law takes this option away from people who refuse to take a breath test. The practical effect of denying eligibility for a provisional license is that people who refuse a breath test and are convicted of a first offense DUI will likely have to opt for having the ignition interlock installed. While the ignition interlock is not mandatory for people who refuse the breath test as it is with people who register a breath score over a .15, the alternative may be not driving during the six month suspension period.
Cost of ignition interlock for DUI conviction and further penalties
Under South Carolina Law, a person who is convicted of DUI and has an ignition interlock installed in their car must pay the cost of having the ignition interlock unless they are deemed indigent. In addition to this added cost, registering breath alcohol scores over specified limits on the ignition interlock system can lead to further penalties and license suspensions. For a discussion of other DUI penalties please visit our DUI page.
Contact a DUI defense attorney at Pisarik Law Firm to discuss DUI penalties and your DUI defense
Now more than ever, a DUI conviction can have serious and long lasting consequences. Before you make any decisions that might affect your case, contact an experienced DUI defense lawyer at Pisarik Law Firm to discuss your DUI defense or DUAC defense. Initial consultations are free of charge. 803-415-2733