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2023 Changes in South Carolina DUI Law

IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE PROGRAM

WHAT IS AN IGNITION INTERLOCK DEVICE

An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is a small breath testing machine installed in a vehicle that requires a person to submit an acceptable breath sample to start the engine.

The acceptable breath sample result is a BAC (breath alcohol content) of .02 or less. With a BAC .02 or less, the engine will start. However, as long as the engine is running, the person may be subsequently tested.

Providing an unacceptable BAC result will result in the following:

• The engine will not start;

• Authorities will be notified;

• The person may be required to attend alcohol/substance abuse counseling;

• The required length of time the IID is required may be extended; and

• The person may be removed from the program entirely.

The IID program is monitored by the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Service (SCDPPPS) and the person must pay supervision fees and the costs associated with installing and maintaining the IID.

WHO IS REQUIRED TO INSTALL AN IID

In June of 2007, SC passed The Prevention of Underage Drinking and Access to Alcohol Act. This law set the parameters for developing the Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Program requiring SCDPPPS to administer the program.

In April of 2004, SC passed what is commonly referred to as Emma’s Law. Pursuant to Emma’s Law,

  • IID required for DUI first offenders with a BAC of .15 or greater;
  • Camera IID required;
  • No hard suspension period for DUI second and subsequent offenders;
  • No option of non-participation in the IID Program; and
  • No requirement to complete the IID program before obtaining a non-restrictive license.

In May of 2005, Emma’s Law was amended to provide penalties for persons who:

• Tamper with the Breath Alcohol Ignition Device (BAIID) by attempting to prevent its proper operation or obscure or cover the camera lens; and

• Allow a third party not driving the vehicle to submit a breath sample to the BAIID to start the vehicle’s engine.

2023 CHANGES

In 2023, the SC Legislature made significant changes to the laws governing the IID requirement which go into effect May 19, 2024. The most significant changes are:

• All persons convicted of DUI or DUAC (Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Content) must install an IID, including first offense convictions; and

• All persons with an implied consent violation must install an IID, provided the violation is not reversed at an administrative implied consent hearing.

Persons accused of an implied consent violation may still request an implied consent hearing, and thereby obtain a temporary alcohol restricted license (TARL) allowing the person to drive until the administrative implied consent hearing – with no restrictions and without an IID.

The length of time the IID is required is based on prior offenses of DUI or DUAC convictions within the past ten year period as follows:

  • First offense: six months;
  • Second offense: two years;
  • Third offense: three years/four years if the offense occurs within 5 years of first offense; and
  • Fourth or subsequent offense: lifetime requirement.

ADDITIONAL CHANGES TO SC DUI LAW IN 2023

• Persons under the age of 21 suspended for operating a vehicle with a breath alcohol content of .02 or greater allowed to install an IID in lieu of a license suspension or request a contested case hearing with the SC Department of Motor Vehicles;

• Some persons declared a habitual offender pursuant to the SC Habitual Offender Act will be allowed to drive if they enter the IID program;

• Some persons who receive a temporary alcohol restricted license (TARL) will be required to install an IID (except those who request an implied consent hearing for refusal or a BAC of .15 or greater);

• Motorcycles and moped drivers are exempted from the IID requirements;

• A procedure to exempt persons who drive a company vehicle as part of their employment; and

• A procedure to have a lifetime IID requirement removed.

Attorney Kirk Truslow's practice focuses solely on criminal defense law in State and Federal Courts. In practice for thirty years, Truslow has obtained hundreds of dismissals of DUI, DUAC and/or Felony DUI cases. Truslow has also obtained numerous not guilty verdicts in criminal jury trials, including Felony DUI. If you have been arrested and charged with DUI, DUAC, Felony DUI or any criminal offense in State of Federal Court, contact attorney Kirk Truslow at 843.449.3304.

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