DUAC Laws in South Carolina
The South Carolina Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways defines the offense of Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration (DUAC) with the language that “It is unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle within this State while his alcohol concentration is eight one-hundredths of one percent or more.” § 56-5-2933 (“Driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration; penalties; enrollment in Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program; prosecution.”)
Unlike a DUI charge, there is no requirement that the prosecutor show that you were “impaired” in your driving. This means that DUAC is a strict liability offense and the prosecutor must simply prove that you were driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .08.
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Some prosecutors may offer a plea agreement for a DUI charge to be “reduced” to a DUAC charge. The “reduction” is presented as a means to prevent a charge from appearing on your criminal record – a record visible to any person or employer who does a simple background check. However, there is no set standard for changing the charge from a DUI, and it could still appear on your record. Our South Carolina Defense attorneys will fight for your rights and advise you on the best course of action when facing any drunk driving offense.
What is the difference between a DUI and a DUAC?
Additionally, there is no appreciable difference in penalties between the two offenses. For both a DUI and DUAC:
- There is no eligibility for the charge to be expunged from your record.
- The fines and jail time are identical.
- Convicted offenders must complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP).
- Convicted offenders must carry costly SR-22 insurance for at least three years.
- Both charges may enhance a subsequent arrest for either DUAC or DUI to a second offense, moving its prosecution to a more serious General Sessions Court.
While a DUAC may not be as easily recognizable an acronym as a DUI, it will still have major consequences on your license, insurance, and future job prospects.
Know your rights!
While the only requirement for conviction in court is a BAC over .08, there are restrictions on the arresting officer’s process. The breathalyzer test to verify BAC must be performed within two hours of the time of the traffic stop. There must have been probable cause for the officer to have pulled you over. Additionally, unlike many other traffic citations, a DUAC cannot be charged to a driver stopped at a road block or license check point.
Fight your South Carolina DUAC
For legal assistance protecting your rights, contact the experienced defense attorneys at Nosal & Jeter, LLP. Our lawyers know how to properly question probable cause, procedure, breathalyzer test accuracy, and much more. South Carolina DUAC Attorney Peter J. Nosal is a former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer who has experience with drunk driving related traffic stops and knows how to pinpoint mistakes made by officers during a DUAC arrest. He now uses the knowledge and experience gained as a police officer to defend our clients charged with any drunk driving offenses in South Carolina.