Can you drive after a DUI arrest in South Carolina? What about after a DUI conviction? Can you get a temporary or route-restricted driver’s license? 

Below, we will cover some of the more common situations where a person’s license is suspended because of DUI charges and the requirements to get your license restored or to get a provisional license, including:

  • Implied consent suspensions,
  • Ignition interlock device (IID) requirements, and
  • Route restricted, provisional, and temporary DUI licenses.

Getting Back on the Road After a DUI in South Carolina

In most cases, you can get back on the road once you have met certain requirements. What you will need to do depends on your situation – for example, did you refuse the breathalyzer test, were you convicted of DUI, what was the breathalyzer result, and how many prior DUIs are on your record? Keep reading to find out more.

Provisional Driver’s Licenses After a DUI

In some situations, you can drive after a DUI with a provisional or temporary license. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to get a route-restricted license, a temporary alcohol license, or a provisional driver’s license.

Provisional Driver’s License

If you have been convicted of driving under the influence, your breathalyzer result was .14 or less, and it was your first offense, you may be able to get a provisional driver’s license that allows you to drive for up to six months. You must:

  • Have a valid South Carolina driver’s license,
  • Pay all reinstatement fees to the DMV for any prior license suspensions,
  • Have no other driver’s license suspensions since the DUI arrest,
  • Enroll in ADSAP, and
  • Pay a $100 license fee.

Temporary Alcohol License (TAL)

What if your license was suspended due to an implied consent violation instead of a DUI conviction? 

Once you request an implied consent hearing (within the 30-day deadline), you can go to the DMV and get a temporary alcohol license that allows you to drive until your hearing date. There are no restrictions on the temporary alcohol license other than you cannot drive after drinking alcohol. 

If you win your implied consent hearing, your full South Carolina driver’s license will be returned to you. If you lose your implied consent hearing, you will need to enroll in ADSAP and you may still be able to drive after installing an ignition interlock device on your vehicle or you may be eligible for a route-restricted license.

Route-Restricted License

The provisional license allows a first-time DUI offender with a breathalyzer result of .14 or less to drive, and the temporary alcohol license allows a person to drive while their implied consent hearing is pending. 

What about everyone else? 

If you have been convicted of DUI 2nd or greater, or if you lose your implied consent hearing and must return your temporary alcohol license, you might still be eligible for a route-restricted license. The route-restricted license is available for other types of suspensions including license suspensions for:

  • Accident judgments,
  • Alcohol violations,
  • Implied consent violations,
  • Failure to stop for blue light,
  • False insurance certifications,
  • Misrepresentation of identity, and
  • Accumulation of 12 or more driving points.

The license allows you to drive to work or school and any court-ordered treatment programs including ADSAP. 

You cannot use the route-restricted license to drive a commercial vehicle. You can only get one route-restricted license in your lifetime, but it will be valid until your suspension period is over.

Implied Consent and Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Requirements

If you refused the breathalyzer test or took the test and the result was .15 or greater, you now have an implied consent driver’s license suspension. How do you get your license back? 

The officer will take your driver’s license, and you cannot drive until you:

  1. Request an implied consent hearing. Once you request the administrative hearing, you can get a temporary alcohol license that allows you to drive without restrictions (other than no alcohol), and, if you win the hearing, your license will be restored, or
  2. Enroll in ADSAP and get a route-restricted license, serve out the suspension period, or install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle (depending on the breathalyzer result and the number of prior DUIs on your record).

Ignition Interlock Devices (IID)

Although in some cases you may be able to get a provisional or route restricted driver’s license or just serve out your suspension period, in other cases you will be required to install an ignition interlock device before you can drive again if you have an implied consent suspension or a DUI conviction. 

South Carolina’s ignition interlock device laws require you to pay supervision fees, blow into the device before starting your car (it should not start if there is alcohol on your breath), and provide for stiff penalties if you drive without the IID or tamper with the device. 

It’s inconvenient for some, but it’s also a good thing for many drivers who have been convicted of DUI because it allows you to get back on the road without waiting for the end of the suspension period.

Other Requirements

In addition to the ignition interlock device requirements, there may be other hoops you need to jump through before you can drive after a DUI, including:

  • Paying all DMV fees,
  • ADSAP requirements,
  • Resolving any previous suspensions,
  • Resolving any out-of-state license issues, and
  • SR-22 insurance requirements.


Questions About Provisional DUI Licenses in South Carolina?

You probably can drive after a DUI in South Carolina, but the requirements to get you back on the road will depend on your circumstances. If you have been charged with DUI in South Carolina, get an experienced DUI defense lawyer on your side immediately who can begin preparing your defense and help you to navigate complicated driver’s license issues.

Call 843-761-3840 or use this form to contact us today to discuss your case and start working towards the best possible outcome for you.

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