What If You Have a Prior DUI From Another State?

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South Carolina has heavy penalties for both first and subsequent DUI convictions. It does not matter where the previous conviction occurred — there is no legal requirement that both convictions are from South Carolina.

If you have been charged with any DUI offense in Greenville, whether it is the first or subsequent one, you should contact a DUI defense attorney at Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC. We can fight for you on your behalf.

South Carolina Will Learn of a Prior Conviction in Another State

States across the country share information with each other about all traffic offenses, including DUI convictions. 45 states across the country participate in the Interstate Drivers License Compact, and South Carolina is one of them. Any traffic offense elsewhere is reported back to South Carolina.

There is also a National Driver Register that will report serious traffic offenses, regardless of where they happened. These reports will include previously losing your license because of a DUI conviction.

Thus, even if you were convicted out-of-state, you will still have consequences for your conviction back in South Carolina. For example, if you were convicted of a DUI in another state, but your driver’s license was in South Carolina, you will still have a driver’s license suspension of six months when you come back to the state. It will be South Carolina that makes the determination about your driver’s license, even if they are not the ones that sentenced you.

South Carolina will know your status and history if you have a prior DUI conviction in another state, even if it happened before you moved to the Palmetto State. When the prosecutor determines how to charge you for the traffic stop, they will see that you have a previous DUI.

If it is a second offense, you will face heightened penalties, including potential jail time. In South Carolina, so long as your DUI conviction happens within ten years of a prior conviction, it will be considered a second offense.

Penalties for a Second DUI Conviction in South Carolina

The penalties for a second offense vary based on your blood alcohol level:

  • For a BAC under .10, you will be fined between $2100 and $5100 and face a jail sentence of between five days and one year.
  • For a BAC between .10 and .16, you will be fined between $2,500 and $5,500 and face a jail sentence between 30 days and two years
  • For a BAC above .16, you will be fined between $3,500 and $6,500 and face a jail sentence between 90 days and three years.
  • All second offenses will lead to a one-year suspension of your driving privileges (that is enforced across the country)

There is no way around the fact that the second DUI offense penalties in South Carolina are severe, much more so than in many other states. Even though a second offense is not usually charged as a felony, you should not think that these charges are minor. You may spend time in jail, and the sentence can be considerable. If you are more than just a little over the legal limit, you can spend at least a month in jail.

If this is your second conviction in South Carolina, and you have a conviction in another state (meaning that you are a third-time offender), you will spend time in jail with no exceptions. The penalties are even tougher for a third offense. Depending on your BAC at the time of arrest, you can spend up to five years in prison and lose your driver’s license for two years.

Getting Legal Representation for Potential Second DUI Offenses

You should always hire an attorney for a second DUI offense, given the potentially serious consequences of a conviction. First, the judge has the ability to suspend the jail sentence for a second DUI offense. Your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor to recommend a suspended sentence, or they can fight the charges against you.

If you do spend time in jail, your attorney may help you obtain the best possible outcome and a lesser sentence in jail. If you try to represent yourself, you are potentially playing with fire, given the possible jail sentence of up to three years.

How Our DUI Lawyers in Greenville Can Assist You

An experienced DUI can help your case in the following ways:

  • Learning more about your situation and what is important to you
  • Investigating your case and gathering evidence that can help you fight the charges against you
  • Ensuring that your legal rights are protected throughout the process
  • Potentially negotiating a plea deal with the prosecutor that may keep you out of jail or lead to lesser penalties
  • Defending you in court if you choose to fight the charges against you

Have an Existing DUI Out-of-State? Hire a Greenville DUI Defense Attorney

The experienced DUI defense attorneys at Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC are here to help you if you have been charged with DUI. You should always hire an attorney, regardless of whether it is your first offense or a subsequent charge. The stakes are high, and there is a chance that you can achieve a better legal result than if you tried to deal with the criminal justice system on your own.

You can speak with one of our lawyers by calling us at (864) 523-7738 or by sending us a message online.

DUI Defense FAQs

On what grounds can I challenge a DUI charge?

You can defend yourself by arguing that law enforcement violated your legal rights or that the evidence of your alleged DUI was tainted or improperly handled.

Do I need a DUI lawyer?

You do not have to hire a DUI lawyer, but your legal defense will benefit from the help of an experienced attorney.

What is a suspended jail sentence?

A suspended jail sentence is when the judge sentences you to prison but does not actually require you to be confined. You would need to go to jail if you did not follow the court’s conditions.

Why Choose Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey Law Firm?

With the experience to address complex family law, criminal defense, and real estate matters, our knowledgeable team of attorneys are here to advocate for you. We operate our law offices on three main principles:


We strive to establish personal trust with each and every client.


We operate with the utmost integrity when dealing with clients and the legal community.


We commit to excellence in all aspects of the legal profession.
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