South Carolina Ignition Interlock 101

South Carolina has some of the strictest DUI laws in the country. In an effort to deter drivers from getting behind the wheel under the influence, even first time offenders with a Breath Alcohol Content (BAC) of over .15 can be ordered to install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) in their vehicle. Usually, repeat offenders are required to install an IID, but in South Carolina, your first conviction is enough to get an IID installed. IIDs are often the only way to maintain driving privileges after a DUI conviction.

Since the passing of Emma’s Law in 2014, the state of South Carolina now requires successful participation in the IID Program before being eligible to obtain a non-restricted license.

What is an Ignition Interlock Device and What Does it Do?

An Ignition Interlock Device is a mechanism that attaches to your car’s ignition system and tests your BAC before allowing you to start your car. Your BAC level is tested by blowing into the device, typically located near the driver’s seat. If your BAC is not within the pre-set range, your vehicle will not start. Additional precautions to prevent drinking and driving have been put into place with the IID by requiring the driver to also blow into the device periodically during travel.

How long will I need to have the IID in my vehicle?

The length of time you’ll have to have the Ignition Interlock Device on your vehicle for first time offenders varies.

South Carolina drunk driving law requires the court to order anyone with a BAC of over .08 or any repeat offender to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed and monitored within 90 days of license suspension.

Typically, Ignition Interlock Devices are required as follows:

  • Second DUI – 2 years
  • Third DUI – 3 years
  • Fourth and any subsequent DUIs – must use the IID for life

Additionally, anyone who refuses a breathalyzer test at the time they are stopped and is convicted of a DUI will have their license suspended for 6 months. This can be offset by enrollment in the IID Program.

I have a company vehicle for work, do I need an IID on that too?

Short answer, yes.

Typically the Ignition Interlock Device is required to be installed on any vehicle the offender regularly operates.

In some cases, if the offender is required to operate a vehicle as part of their scope of work, an employment exemption can be granted for the business vehicle only. This exemption will not be granted for any vehicles owned by a company that the offender, or any of the offender’s relatives, either fully or partially owns.

How can I get my Ignition Interlock removed?

Once you’ve reached the end date of the Interlock Program, you’ll be subject to a final inspection of your IID for any evidence of tampering or malfunction.

Once the device passes final inspection, your Ignition Interlock Administrator will send a letter to the South Carolina DMV notifying them that you have successfully completed the program, and also issue a letter of completion to you. You will take this letter to your IID service provider, who will then remove your device.

At this point you are free to request that your driver’s license be reinstated.

Contact our Experienced DUI Defense Lawyers Today

We know that having an Ignition Interlock Device can be expensive and inconvenient. We fight hard to defend DUI/DWI cases to help you avoid this costly consequence. To see how we can help you, contact the Greg McCollum Legal Defense Team today at (843) 627-4025.

Written by Greg McCollum CLDT

Greg McCollum CLDT

At the Complete Legal Defense Team we represent, assist, and defend people who are accused of crimes. Being accused of a crime is a harrowing experience. You experience public shame and humiliation and do not know where to turn for help. We are experienced and knowledgeable and will take immediate steps to begin repairing your life. We evaluate how the allegation affects your reputation in the community, how it affects your time and your life, and how it will affect you financially. Believe it or not, many people who are arrested and charged with crimes are innocent.