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Emma’s Law – Ignition Interlock Device

SC DUI Charges: Emma’s Law. Ignition Interlock Device

The South Carolina State Legislature passed, “Emma’s Law“, in April 2014  and became effective October 1, 2014. This law established a  tougher punishment for South Carolina DUI convictions.  There are several facets of this new law, but one of the major changes is the implementation of a statewide ignition interlock device (IID) program.  The more times a person is convicted of DUI, the longer the IID remains on the car.

How Does the Ignition Interlock Device Work?

The IID is connected to the engine’s ignition system and requires that a driver breathe into the device prior to starting the vehicle.  The car physically will not start unless you take a breath alcohol test immediately before starting the car.  If the ignition interlock device records a blood alcohol level of more than .02, the car will not start.  The cost of the IID device is the responsibility of the defendant and depending on the duration required by the conviction for the IID to remain on the vehicle, the added costs to the defendant can be in the thousands.  The driver must pay for the cost of the device’s installation, maintenance, and monthly monitoring. Contact the criminal defense lawyers at the Strom Law Firm if you have questions about Emma Law or South Carolina DUI penalties.

If you are convicted of DUI in South Carolina, effective October 1, 2014, the law applies as follows:

  • If you are under 21 and it is your first offense:
    • If you blow a .02 or higher you are facing a 3 month driving suspension
    • If you refused the breath test, you will receive a 6 month suspension.
    • You can enroll in the ignition interlock program to end the suspension or denial of a license or permit.
  • If you are at least 21 and it is your first DUI offense:
    • If you blow a .15 or less, you may install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle in lieu of the mandatory suspension
    • If you blow a .15 or higher you must install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle for 6 months.
    • If you refused the breath alcohol test, you may install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle in lieu of a six-month driver license suspension.
  • If you are at least 21 and it is your second DUI offense, and you blow at least a .12 you must install an ignition interlock device for two years.
  • If you are at least 21 and it is your third DUI offense, and you blow at least a .15, you must install an ignition interlock device for three years.
  • If you are at least 21 and it is your fourth DUI offense, and you blow at least a .15, you must install an ignition interlock device FOR LIFE.
  • Felony DUI conviction where great bodily injury occurs requires the installation of an ignition interlock device for 3 years upon your release from prison.
  • Felony DUI conviction where death occurs requires the installation of an ignition interlock device for 5 years upon your release from prison.

Defending your South Carolina DUI charge is critical

The Implementation of Emma’s law makes your DUI defense even more critical.  Our experienced Columbia, South Carolina DUI attorneys are here to help you.  We offer a free, confidential consultation to discuss the facts of your South Carolina DUI arrest as well as possible consequences including mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device. We are located in Columbia but handle DUI cases state wide. 803.252.4800

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