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Limited Exceptions May Limit the Pain of Ignition Interlock for Arrest License Suspension

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Many DUI suspects face an unexpected punishment way before their case ever goes to trial. It’s called arrest license suspension. Even if you’ve got an ironclad defense to the DUI or DUAC charge, you’ve still got to confront this “other” part of your case.

You’ve got a limited time to contest it. If you don’t, or you lose your hearing, you face a stark choice: ignition interlock or no driving until your suspension’s up.

There are limited exceptions, but they aren’t real good ones:

  • If you serve part of your suspension, you should get credit for that, which should reduce your time on ignition interlock. But South Carolina Code § 56-5-2951 requires ignition interlock a minimum of three months—even if it extends past your suspension.
  • If you serve the entire suspension, you don’t need ignition interlock to get your license back. What a deal, right?
  • The work vehicle exception. This could spare you some undue anguish at work, but it comes with its own set of complex rules. If you drive a work vehicle (defined as one you are required to drive in the course and scope of your employment), and your use of the vehicle is solely for business purposes, you should be able to drive it without the ignition interlock. That’s according to South Carolina Code § 56-5-2941, which generally covers ignition interlock but doesn’t cover arrest license suspensions.

However, you lose the work vehicle exception if:

  • it’s your second conviction or more, or
  • you’re self-employed or employed by a business owned totally or partially by you or someone in your household or immediate family. But the judge might be convinced to rescue you here. Think of it as the exception to the exception for the work vehicle exception. (Are we having fun yet?) In the criminal case, if the judge finds the vehicle serves a legitimate business purpose and legal ownership by the business was not done to avoid ignition interlock, you don’t need interlock for the work vehicle.

The cost and embarrassment of ignition interlock make it worth fighting. Get ahead of an undeserved penalty—call 888-230-1841 for a free strategy session to start building your defense.

 

Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg, South Carolina personal injury and criminal defense lawyer.
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