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Experienced Defense Attorneys Understanding Your Driving with Unlawful Alcohol Concentration Charge

Driving With an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration

What is the difference between DUI & DUAC in Lexington, SC?


  • DUI - a charge given to those operating a vehicle whose driving is impared by drugs or alcohol in their system
  • DUAC - a charge given to those who have been operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or more

In South Carolina, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by the effects of alcohol and/or drugs. This means that you could be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) if it is determined that any measurable amount of alcohol or drugs has materially and appreciably impaired your ability to drive—even though the standard legal limit is .08% or greater.

However, when defining the crime of driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC), the bounds are a little clearer. S.C. Code §56-5-2933 states that one could be charged with DUAC if they have operated a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater.

Possible DUAC Defenses

An office does not have to prove that the offender's ability to drive has been impaired by the effects of alcohol in order to charge them with DUAC. Rather, the crime focuses on the fact that they made the decision to drive with a BAC that met or exceeded the legal limit of .08%. For this reason, there are numerous requirements that must be specifically established in a DUAC case. A person charged with DUAC can challenge the following factors:

  • Were you lawfully arrested or detained?
  • How much time elapsed between your arrest and BAC testing?
  • Were you verbally informed of your implied consent rights?
  • Did you voluntarily consent to BAC testing?
  • Was the test administrator adequately qualified?
  • Was the testing equipment in proper working condition?
  • Did you BAC meet or exceed the legal limit?
  • Were you in physical control of a motor vehicle?

Penalties for a First, Second, Third or Fourth DUAC Conviction

Whether you have been charged with a first, second, third or fourth DUAC offense, you could be facing serious legal consequences. The penalties will be determined by the severity of your BAC at the time of your arrest, so you could even face enhanced sentencing and fines for a first offense if your BAC was measured at .10% or greater.

Below are possible penalties:

First DUAC Offense

  • BAC of .10% or Less: 48 hours to 30 days in jail and $400 in fines
  • BAC of .10%–.16%: 72 hours to 30 days in jail and $500 in fines
  • BAC of .16% or Greater: 30 to 90 days in jail and $1,000 in fines

Second DUAC Offense

  • BAC of .10% or Less: 5 days to 1 year in jail and $2,100 in fines
  • BAC of .10%–.16%: 30 days to 2 years in jail and $2,500 in fines
  • BAC of .16% or Greater: 90 days to 3 years in jail and $3,500 in fines

Third DUAC Offense

  • BAC of .10% or Less: 60 days to 3 years in jail and $3,800 in fines
  • BAC of .10%–.16%: 90 days to 4 years in jail and $5,000 in fines
  • BAC of .16% or Greater: 6 months to 5 years in jail and $7,500 in fines

Fourth DUAC Offense

  • BAC of .10% or Less: 1 year to 5 years in jail
  • BAC of .10%–.16%: 2 years to 6 years in jail
  • BAC of .16% or Greater: 3 years to 7 years in jail

Charged with DUAC? A Lexington Criminal Attorney Can Help

If you were recently arrested and charged with DUAC in South Carolina, you could be facing hard time behind bars—especially if you have previously been convicted of the same offense and/or your blood-alcohol concentration was measured at .10% or greater. For this reason, you should waste no time in contacting a Lexington criminal attorney from the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC.

Reach us online, and fill out a complimentary case evaluation form. We are ready to stand by your side!

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