South Carolina DUI Conviction and License Consequences for In-State Drivers


South Carolina DUI License Consequences

If you’ve been convicted of DUI or DUAC in South Carolina the DMV will suspend your Driver’s License. The goal of this post is to help you understand how to get your License back. Please remember that this is a broad guide and always consult an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney.

We defend our Clients and aggressively represent them to make sure everyone receives a fair and even trial. If the DUI charge is dismissed, then your license will NOT be suspended.

Step 1: Do you have any prior DUI convictions? 

South Carolina DMV looks back 10 years prior to the incident date of your DUI to determine if you’ve been convicted of any prior DUIs. The DMV checks both In-State and Out of State records. (All 50 states) Any prior DUIs count as a prior conviction and the DMV doesn’t look at what offense of DUI you pled to.

For example: Lets say you pled to a DUI 1st Offense in 2014, and a DUI 1st Offense in 2016. The DMV will calculate you as a DUI 2nd Offender and you will be subject to Interlock Ignition Requirements.

Step 2: Determine your Blood Alcohol Content

The DMV will then look at the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) on the Ticket or Warrant. The DMV looks ONLY at what the BAC was at conviction; they do not look at the initial BAC for license purposes.

Step 3: Calculate your Requirements

  • DUI 1st Offense (No other DUIs within 10 years) AND BAC .14 or below
    • You may be eligible for a Provisional License in South Carolina. This license will allow you to drive unrestricted ONLY in South Carolina. To obtain a provisional license you must:
      • SC Resident
      • Enroll in ADSAP
      • Obtain SR-22 Insurance
      • Pay Reinstatement fee to DMV
  • DUI 1st Offense (No other DUIs within 10 years) AND BAC .15 or above
    • You are NOT eligible for a provisional license.
    • You are required to Obtain an Interlock Ignition Device.
  • DUI 2nd Offense (Any BAC)
    • You are NOT eligible for a provisional license.
    • You are required to Obtain an Interlock Ignition Device.

This is a broad Guide to the consequences of a DUI conviction in South Carolina. Driving Under the Influence is a serious charge and it’s important to consult with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney.

At the Cole Law Firm we vigorously defend our Clients against the charge of DUI to protect their rights. Each attorney is trained to administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and the Datamaster Machine. We defend and resolve DUI cases throughout the Upstate including; Greenville, Anderson, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, and Abbeville Counties. Contact us TODAY for a free consultation.


Possession, PWID, and Trafficking: Drug Crimes in South Carolina


Generally speaking, there are three types of drug crimes in South Carolina; possession, possession with intent to distribute, and trafficking. This post will discuss the differences. Possession is the least serious, possession with intent to distribute (PWID) is a felony, and trafficking is also a felony.


Possession comes in many forms; simple possession of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession of MDMA, possession of schedule 1 narcotics, and possession of controlled substances are all examples. Possession is the lowest form of a drug crime. Most first offenses of possession are misdemeanors in South Carolina.

Possession can be proven in two forms; actual and constructive. Actual possession is having the drug on your person or in your hand. Constructive possession is a little trickier: do you have domain and control over the substance. Constructive cases tend to come up in cases where a drug is found in a common area of a house or in a car. The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person intended to possess the controlled substance. Mere presence isn’t enough. However, multiple people can have possession of the same drug.

At Cole Law Firm we have experience dealing with possession cases of all sorts. It’s important to understand what the possible penalties are and whether you were charged wit the correct offense. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID)

PWID comes in many forms too; marijuana, cocaine, meth, heroin, MDMA, narcotics and so on. The difference is the intent to distribute. PWID is a felony in South Carolina and carries serious penalties. If enhanced to a second or third offense, many carry mandatory jail time. (Example: PWID Meth 2nd offense carries a 5-year mandatory minimum)

PWID can be proven by three general methods: Inference weight, sale of drug to another, or packaging and scales.

Inference weight form meth and cocaine allows PWID to be charged in any case where the meth, cocaine, or heroin weighs more than 1 gram. The jury will be permitted to presume that the substance was for distribution. Now this presumption doesn’t require that the jury convict of PWID. Many heavy users can go through a gram or two in a week of the substance. Attorney’s at Cole Law firm regularly handle these sorts of cases and have obtained reductions to Possession charges. But it’s important to have an experienced attorney who understands what the law requires PWID to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sale to another simply requires that the person have sold it to another person. The total amount or weight of the drug doesn’t matter. The sale is all that matters. Usually this is done by a sale to a confidential informant.

Packaging and scales allows a jury to infer that the drugs were destined for distribution and not for personal use. Usually this will be proven by multiple individual baggies or having multiple scales to weigh the drugs. Other factors could be the proximity of large amounts of cash or proximity to weapons.


Trafficking in cocaine, marijuana, heroin, or meth is the most serious of the drug offenses in South Carolina. Trafficking carries mandatory jail time and usually is established by the weight of the drug. Once a certain weight is established, the elements for trafficking can be met. Personal use is no defense once a weight is established.



Being charged with a drug crime in South Carolina is a serious matter. It’s important that you consult with an experienced criminal defense firm.

At Cole Law Firm we have experience from handling Simple Possession of Marijuana to Trafficking. We work to vigorously defend your rights and we have experience handling these cases. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.






South Carolina DUI and Interlock Ignition Device (IID)


Today’s we are discussing the consequences of a DUI conviction and Interlock Ignition Requirements in South Carolina. You may be required to install an Interlock Ignition Device for two reasons: (1) A DUI/DUAC conviction or (2) A violation of the Implied Consent Statute and an Administrative Hearing.  We’ll focus on the interlock requirements for a DUI conviction today.

What is an Interlock Ignition Device?

A Interlock Ignition Device is a computer with a breath tube that analyzes the breath-alcohol concentration of a person. This computer is connected to the car’s computer ignition. The IID permits the car to drive. If the IID detects alcohol, it will shut off the car’s ignition. The purpose of the IID is to permit citizens to drive during the time their license would otherwise be suspended during a DUI.

When is an Interlock Ignition Device Required?

DUI 1st Offense when the BAC is a .15 or higher and DUI 2nd, DUI 3rd, and above.

(SC Code 56-5-2941 and 56-5-2990)

How Long is an Interlock Ignition Device Required?

            The short answer is the IID must be on the car for the same length as a suspension would have been.

DUI First Offense

6 Months

DUI Second Offense

2 Years (SC Code 56-5-2990)

DUI Third Offense

4 Years (If DUI 1st Offense was within 5 years) Otherwise 3 years

DUI Fourth Offense


Who Monitors my Interlock Ignition Device?

            Probation, Parole, and Pardon monitors the IID. When a person is ordered by the DMV to obtain an IID, they must report to PPP. PPP will then send the client to one of the three in-state vendors. These vendors will install the IID in your vehicle. PPP and the vendors monitor your IID for tampering and for compliance. PPP conducts a reading every 60 days on the IID to check compliance. More information can be found here.


If you’re arrested for DUI an IID may be a possible punishment. That’s why it’s important to consult with experienced DUI criminal defense attorneys. We at Cole Law Firm proactively and aggressively defend our clients. Contact us for a free consultation regarding your DUI or criminal case.




Welcome to Cole Law Firm’s New Criminal Defense Blog!


Hello and welcome! We’ve started a blog to update the community about criminal defense law. Our blog will mostly cover DUI, domestic violence, and drug law. We’ll also be discussing the impact that criminal charges can have on a client’s driver’s license.


Each week we’ll post a brief article about a certain area of the law. Sometimes it will be a broad overview, and other times we’ll discuss the in-depth subject of a particular area of law.


We’ve also got to get some “legal language” requirements out of the way. First, nothing on this blog is construed as legal advice. We’re providing a broad summary of legal topics. If you need specific criminal defense legal help, give us a call!


Cole Law Firm’s Newest Publications


Cole DUI Consumer Guide

This is a copy of one of Cole Law Firm’s newest publications. It’s a sort of “consumer guide” for those who have been charged with DUI or who know someone who has been charged with DUI. Free copies are available to anyone who stops by our office at 1303 Ella Street, Anderson, SC.

Cole Crime eBook

Another “consumer guide” from Cole Law Firm. This gives an overview of what one can expect if charged with a criminal offense in South Carolina. As always, if you need more information, your initial consultation is free.


Free Consultations


Many lawyers and law firms advertise free consultations. We do too. The difference with us is…..

At the Cole Law Firm, we never EVER charge for a second or even third consultation. We want you to feel at ease, and we want you to understand what issues are facing you and your case.

Contact Cole Law Firm TODAY to schedule your first FREE CONSULTATION.

Remember: Friends Don’t Let Innocent Friends Plead Guilty


What You Need to Ask a DUI Lawyer


– How long has he/she been practicing and handling DUI’s?
– What percentage of his/her practice is DUI defense?
– Not how many DUI’s has he/she represented but how may has he/she tried?
– Is he/she trained by the NHTSA course of Field Sobriety Testing (FST)?
– Does he/she own a DataMaster machine?  (The machine used by law enforcement in South Carolina to measure alcohol in one’s breath.)
– Is he/she trained on the DataMaster?
– How many books has he/she published on the subject?
– How many articles has he/she published on the subject?
– How many seminars has he/she taught on the subject?
– How many people has he/she taught in their career?
– How much time will he/she put into your case?
– What is his/her Martindale Hubbell rating? AVVO – what do his/her clients say about their representation?
– Does he/she have any law enforcement experience?
– Is he/she a founding member of the National College for DUI Defense?
– Is he/she routinely interviewed by elements of the news media for opinions on DUI legislation and laws?
– And last, but not least, did he/she help write the law?

Click to download a copy of “What You Need to Ask a DUI Lawyer.”


Ronnie Cole on Emma’s Law



Ronnie Cole has helped write the DUI Laws, including Emma’s Law. It goes into effect October 1, 2014, and radically changes South Carolina’s DUI Laws.

Ronnie Cole knows the laws and can represent you for your traffic or DUI court case


ronnie cole

S.C. Bar Announces Publication of South Carolina Drug Case Tool Kit, 2nd Ed.


COLUMBIA, S.C. (July 16, 2013)

The South Carolina Bar Continuing Legal Education Division is pleased to announce the publication of the “South Carolina Drug Case Tool Kit, Second Edition” by attorneys Ronnie M. Cole, John D. Newkirk and Michael O. Hallman.

The book is designed as a “go to” guide for both prosecution and defense counsel in handling drug cases of all kinds in South Carolina. The comprehensive manual covers 18 separate aspects of drug trials, including drug analysis, search and seizure, drug indicators and places of concealment, forensic evidence, drugs and hotels, statutory drug offense enhancements, sample direct and cross examinations, and jury charges.

Ronnie Cole, founder of the Cole Law Firm with offices in Anderson and Greenville, is the lead author of 14 books and editions published by the South Carolina Bar. He has also spoken at and planned more than 25 seminars sponsored by the South Carolina Bar on topics such as DUI, drugs, accident reconstruction and traffic cases in South Carolina, in addition to numerous seminars in other states. He has helped write legislation in South Carolina and is considered one of the foremost legal authorities on traffic law in America today.

Current South Carolina Bar books written by Mr. Cole include “Handling Traffic Cases in South Carolina, Fifth Edition,” the “South Carolina Traffic Lawyer’s Toolkit, Second Edition,” and “The South Carolina Collision Investigation Tool Kit, First Edition.” He is currently working on a manual for attorneys that will analyze federal and state commercial drivers’ license issues and regulations.

The South Carolina Bar, which has a membership of more than 14,500 lawyers, is dedicated to advancing justice, professionalism and understanding of the law.


Cole Law on YouTube


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