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Does a 0.08 BAC mean you are automatically guilty of DUI?

Does a 0.08 BAC mean you are automatically guilty of DUI?

South Carolina drivers may know that they will be considered legally impaired if they drive with a 0.08 blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or higher. But staying below 0.08 isn’t a guarantee that you can’t get a South Carolina DUI, and being above 0.08 doesn’t mean you’re automatically guilty. In fact you can legally be not-guilty of DUI in South Carolina blowing above 0.08, even 0.16, 0.20, or higher. 

This is because South Carolina’s DUI statute makes it illegal to drive while materially and appreciably impaired. Our DUI statute allows the police, and court, to draw an inference when someone might be impaired or not. But this is an inference only, and South Carolina law also prohibits someone from being convicted based solely on the BAC number.

South Carolina law provides for the following:

  • A BAC of 0.08 or higher allows for an inference that a driver is under the influence of alcohol.
  • A BAC of 0.07 or 0.06 doesn’t create an inference either way.
  • A BAC of 0.05 or below creates a conclusive presumption that the person is not under the influence of alcohol.

If your charge is DUI under S.C. Code § 56-5-2930, then you aren’t charged under a per se law whereby you’re automatically guilty or not-guilty just based on what you blew. Materially and appreciably impaired isn't defined by law, and is determined on a case-by-case basis. 

If you’ve been arrested for DUI you don’t need to feel like you don’t have a case just because of your BAC number. There are ways to challenge any case, including ones in which involve higher BAC numbers. We recommend always challenging any implied consent suspension notice received as well as any DUI charge brought. Give us a call today to receive a free case evaluation by one of our experienced DUI defense lawyers.


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