In South Carolina, some DUI/DUAC arrests result in automatic, immediate suspension of your driver’s license. It’s called an Administrative License Suspension, and it happens if you refuse the breath test- which won't hurt your case like officers want you to think- or blow .15 or more. And this license suspension is completely separate from the suspension you might face if you’re convicted.

If it sounds like you’re being punished even before you’re found guilty, well, a lot of the time it feels that way to us, too.

Fortunately, you can contest these suspensions in an administrative hearing. An experienced DUI/DUAC defense attorney may be able to give you an edge to prevail and get your license back.

First, let’s look at the length of your suspension:

Length of DUI/DUAC Arrest License Suspension

  • First Offense: For a refusal, six months; for blowing .15 or more, one month.
  • Second Offense: For a refusal, nine months; for blowing .15 or more, two months.
  • Third Offense: For a refusal, twelve months; for blowing .15 or more, three months.
  • Fourth Offense or More: For a refusal, fifteen months; for blowing .15 or more, four months.

The Catch-22

For arrests on or after October 1, 2014, folks who do not contest this suspension and those who lose at their hearings face a catch-22: they can either drive under the harsh limits of a restricted license, or get an ignition interlock system. A restricted license lets you drive to school, work, and to the alcohol program you have to take to get your license back. The burden and embarrassment of ignition interlock is discussed in other articles on this website; check out our “Related Links” further down the page.

If you choose the interlock, you will be required to use it a minimum of three months, even if your remaining suspension time is less than that. That’s an awfully long time to only be able to drive three places on a restricted license, or having to explain to any passengers—children, dates, friends—you can’t start the car until you give an alcohol breath test.

A Bright Spot

You are not automatically doomed to a restricted license or ignition interlock. You can contest the suspension by requesting an administrative hearing—and you can gain an added benefit by requesting a temporary license to let you drive anywhere in South Carolina until the outcome of your hearing is determined. But beware – there are very strict legal deadlines to request the hearing. If you miss them, you give up your right to contest the suspension and get a temporary license. The law is very specific about what the State must prove at that hearing to force your suspension back on you.

If you are facing administrative license suspension in Spartanburg, Greenville, or any nearby community, you owe it to yourself to speak with an experienced DUI/DUAC defense lawyer who can make sure you preserve your rights and stay on the road as much as possible to live your life. For a free meeting to discuss your administrative license suspension with us, feel free to call  888-230-1841 toll-free. If you have any other questions about this or DUI/DUAC-related issues, download our free report, The Terrible Price of a DUI/DUAC Conviction.


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Why You Should Fight Your South Carolina DUI/DUAC Arrest License Suspension
Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg personal injury lawyer. Rob also practices as a workers' compensation attorney.