Ignition Interlock Device Program in SC: 2023 Changes to SC’s DUI Laws

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SC’s ignition interlock device program is getting an overhaul in the 2023 amendments to SC’s DUI laws, including new requirements for ignition interlock devices for first-time DUI and DUAC convictions and for implied consent violations.

Below, we’ll provide some cliff notes and thoughts on the new law, including:

  • What an ignition interlock device is,
  • When you are required to install an IID, and
  • What will change with the 2023 amendments to SC’s DUI laws.

What is the Ignition Interlock Device Program in SC?

An ignition interlock device, or IID, is a handheld breathalyzer that is attached to your vehicle’s ignition.

Before starting your vehicle, you must blow into the device. If the result is passing (under .02), then your vehicle starts, and you can go on about your business. If the result is failing (usually .02 or greater), you will be locked out of your vehicle and the probation department will be notified that you have failed the breath test.

You may also be required to take random retests as long as the vehicle is running, and, if you fail a retest, you could be locked out of your ignition.

The device’s installation and monitoring are done by the probation department, and the driver must pay installation and supervision fees.

When Are You Required to Install an Ignition Interlock Device?

Under SC’s current DUI laws, you are required to install an IID if you are convicted of DUI or DUAC 2nd offense or greater or, in some cases, after an implied consent violation.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing for the driver – in many cases, if you are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC), the ignition interlock device program allows you to drive when otherwise you may have been required to wait out the suspension period.

Changes to SC’s DUI Laws in 2023 – New Ignition Interlock Device Requirements

So, what’s changed under the new DUI laws in 2023?

A new law that makes sweeping changes to SC’s ignition interlock device program was signed into law this year and goes into effect on May 19, 2024, that 1) expands the IID requirement to include all DUI and DUAC convictions, 2) expands the IID requirement to include all implied consent violations, and 3) makes sweeping changes to other SC laws related to the IID requirements.

First-Offense DUI and DUAC Convictions

Under SC’s current version of SC Code § 56-5-2941, an ignition interlock device is required for most DUI or DUAC convictions, excluding first offenses.

The 2023 amendments to SC DUI law expand the IID requirements to include first-offense DUI and DUAC convictions.

Motorcycles and mopeds are exempt from the IID requirements, however.

How Long Does the Device Remain on the Vehicle?

The length of time for the ignition interlock device requirement depends on the number of prior convictions that the person has for DUI, DUAC, or an out-of-state equivalent within the last ten years.

For example:

Prior Convictions Length of IID Requirement
First Offense Six months
Second Offense Two years
Third Offense Three years
Third Offense within five years of the first offense Four years
Fourth or subsequent offense Life


Implied Consent IID Requirements

The ignition interlock device requirements were also expanded for implied consent violations under SC Code § 56-5-2951.

If your license is suspended for any implied consent violation – for refusing to take the breathalyzer test or for taking the test with a result of .15 or greater, and if you do not request an administrative hearing, you must install an IID before you can drive again.

If you request an administrative hearing, you can still get a Temporary Alcohol License (TAL) that allows you to drive until your hearing, and you are not required to install an IID.

If your license is restored at the implied consent hearing, there is no IID requirement unless you are later convicted of the DUI offense in criminal court.

If the hearing officer upholds the suspension, you are then required to install an ignition interlock device and enroll in ADSAP within 30 days of the hearing officer’s decision.

Other Changes to SC’s DUI Laws in 2023

There are other changes to the ignition interlock device program requirements in the 2023 amendments, including:

  • SC’s .02 “zero tolerance” law for minors under the age of 21,
  • SC’s habitual traffic offender law,
  • A procedure to have the IID requirement removed, and
  • A procedure to exempt individuals who drive a company vehicle as part of their employment.

Questions About Ignition Interlock Devices in SC?

The Myrtle Beach and Columbia, SC criminal defense lawyers at the Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm focus exclusively on criminal defense cases in SC, including driving under the influence charges and implied consent hearings.

We have obtained dismissals, pre-trial diversion resulting in dismissals, or acquittals following trial in hundreds of criminal cases, and we have a record of proven results.

If you have been charged with a crime in SC or if you think you may be under investigation, call us now at 843-444-6122 or contact us through our website for a free initial consultation to find out if we can help.