Driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime in South Carolina. This article explains the penalties imposed for DUI violations, but other laws regarding marijuana possession may also apply to drivers and passengers.
For information about how South Carolina treats marijuana possession, sale, and manufacture, see South Carolina Marijuana Laws.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
It is illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, alcohol, other drugs, or a combination of substances. When alcohol is involved, a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent of the driver's blood, by volume (or 0.02 percent for a minor) will conclusively establish that the driver is under the influence (if the level is less, the prosecutor can still point to the driver's actions to prove that he was under the influence).
When marijuana is involved, however, any amount of marijuana that was in the driver’s blood or urine while he was driving will establish that the driver was under the influence. (S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2930.)
Penalties for Driving Under the Influence
Penalties vary according to whether the offense is a first of subsequent conviction. In addition to the penalties described below, the judge will order the defendant to complete a Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program approved by the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, and may also order community service.
- First convictions. Penalties include a $400 fine, between 48 hours and 30 days in jail, or both.
- Second convictions. Penalties include a fine of between $2,000 and $5,100, between five days and one year in jail, or both.
- Third convictions. Penalties include a fine of between $3,800 and $6,300, between 60 days in jail and three years in prison, or both.
- Fourth and subsequent convictions. For a fourth or subsequent offense, a defendant will be sentenced to between one and five years in prison.
An Important Note on Local Legal Representation
If you have been charged with a marijuana-related driving offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of a marijuana charge are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse.