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Your misdemeanor for underage DUI can turn into a felony

If you are a college student here in South Carolina and you have a car at school, you might have or eventually make friends who do not have their own transportation. Good times together may include some drinking, but remember the warning: Do not drink and drive.

The penalties for drinking and driving in this state are harsh. A misdemeanor for driving under the influence can turn into a felony conviction, which should not be any part of your college education.

An “implied consent” state

As you and your friends motor around on the weekend, keep in mind that South Carolina is a state with an “implied consent” law. This means that by driving on our roads, you agree to take a chemical test if a law enforcement officer asks you to do so. If you refuse, you subject yourself to a number of civil and criminal penalties.

Pushing the BAC limit

Any driver under the age of 21 will be charged with a DUI if he or she is caught driving with blood alcohol content of 0.02 percent or higher. The civil penalties you face under the Department of Motor Vehicles include driver’s license suspension. For a first offense, you will lose your license for three months. If you refuse to take a chemical test, suspension for six months is automatic. When you are arrested on suspicion of DUI, your BAC determines the level of criminal penalties you can expect, but at the minimum, for a first offense, you will receive a fine of $400 and minimum jail time of 48 hours or 48 hours of community service.

Impacting your record

A DUI is a misdemeanor, not a simple traffic violation. It can become a felony if you are convicted of a third offense or if you cause an accident or injury while driving under the influence. In addition, remember that a DUI offense is a crime that will permanently remain on your record. This might be something to keep in the back of your mind while you and your friends are having a good time driving around on South Carolina roads.

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