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SC Requires Ignition Interlock Devices for Repeat DUI Offenders

In an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from alcohol-related accidents, the State of South Carolina has joined an increasing number of states across the country in revising laws pertaining to Driving Under the Influence (DUI) penalties and convictions.

Recent changes in legislation now require drivers who are residents of the State of South Carolina who have been convicted of at least two driving under the influence offenses, to install an Ignitation Interlock Device (IID) on their vehicle.    An ignition interlock device is a device similar to a breathalyzer which is installed on the dashboard of a vehicle and measures a driver’s breath alcohol content (BAC) in order to prevent the driving of the motor vehicle if the person has consumed alcoholic beverages.

Before starting the vehicle’s ignition, the driver must breathe into the device and provide a sample breath test.

If the test results indicate the driver’s blood alcohol content is higher than the preset limit programmed into the device (usually above .02%), the interlock device prevents the ignition from starting.  Once the driver has given an alcohol-free test, the vehicle can then be started.

The device also requires random breath tests from the driver while the vehicle is in operation.  This requirement prevents the driver from having another individual breathe into the device and start the car for them, allowing them to get behind the wheel and drive away.

If the breath sample is not given or the results during the drive indicate a blood alcohol content higher than the programmed limit, the device will warn the driver and start an alarm such as causing the vehicle to flash its lights or honk the horn until the vehicle is turned off.    Any failed breath test is logged by the ignition interlock device.

Every sixty days, the driver is required to have the device inspected and an inspection report is prepared by the device service provider.

The South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services (PPP) is required to manage an Interlock Device Point System and will assess points if the driver has violated any of the restrictions.

An accumlation of points may result in further penalites on the driver, such as an extension of the time the ignition interlock device is required to be on the vehicle.

In South Carolina, the length of time the offender is required to have an ingnition device attached to the vehicle is two years for a second offense, three years for a third offense and the remainder of the offender’s life for a fourth or subequent offense.

Individuals who are required to have an ignitation interlock device on their vehicle are responsible for all costs of the device, including installation costs, monthly rental costs and maintenance fees.   Ignition Interlock Devices must be purchased or rented from private companies.

If an individual cannot afford the cost of the device, he or she can submit an Affidavit of Indigency to the PPP for consideration to have the device paid for from the Interock Device Fund. Smart Start Inc. and National Interlock Service Inc. are two vendors approved to install and service the devices.

The criminal defense attorneys at the Strom Law Firm, L.L.C. include a former United States Attorney, a former public defender, a former Assistant Attorney General and Richland County Assistant Solicitor, as well as a tax lawyer familiar with IRS criminal investigations. The Strom Law Firm aggressively defends individuals on all criminal charges in all State and Federal Courts in South Carolina as well as the Federal Courts in Georgia. Our lawyers proudly edit the Columbia, South Carolina Injury Board as well as the Strom Law Blog as a pro bono effort to provide the public valuable information. Our lawyers are licensed in: South Carolina, New York, and Georgia.



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