2012 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 56 - Motor Vehicles
Chapter 1 - DRIVER'S LICENSE
Section 56-1-286 - Suspension of license or permit or denial of issuance of license or permit to persons under the age of twenty-one who drive motor vehicles with certain amount of alcohol concentration.


SC Code § 56-1-286 (2012) What's This?

(A) The Department of Motor Vehicles must suspend the driver's license, permit, or nonresident operating privilege of, or deny the issuance of a license or permit to a person under the age of twenty-one who drives a motor vehicle and has an alcohol concentration of two one-hundredths of one percent or more. In cases in which a law enforcement officer initiates suspension proceedings for a violation of this section, the officer has elected to pursue a violation of this section and is subsequently prohibited from prosecuting the person for a violation of Section 63-19-2440, 63-19-2450, 56-5-2930, or 56-5-2933, arising from the same incident.

(B) A person under the age of twenty-one who drives a motor vehicle in this State is considered to have given consent to chemical tests of his breath or blood for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol.

(C) A law enforcement officer who has arrested a person under the age of twenty-one for a violation of Chapter 5 of this title (Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways), or any other traffic offense established by a political subdivision of this State, and has reasonable suspicion that the person under the age of twenty-one has consumed alcoholic beverages and driven a motor vehicle may order the testing of the person arrested to determine the person's alcohol concentration.

A law enforcement officer may detain and order the testing of a person to determine the person's alcohol concentration if the officer has reasonable suspicion that a motor vehicle is being driven by a person under the age of twenty-one who has consumed alcoholic beverages.

(D) A test must be administered at the direction of the primary investigating law enforcement officer. At the direction of the officer, the person first must be offered a breath test to determine the person's alcohol concentration. If the person physically is unable to provide an acceptable breath sample because he has an injured mouth or is unconscious or dead, or for any other reason considered acceptable by licensed medical personnel, a blood sample may be taken. The breath test must be administered by a person trained and certified by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, pursuant to SLED policies. The primary investigating officer may administer the test. Blood samples must be obtained by physicians licensed by the State Board of Medical Examiners, registered nurses licensed by the State Board of Nursing, or other medical personnel trained to obtain these samples in a licensed medical facility. Blood samples must be obtained and handled in accordance with procedures approved by the division. The division shall administer the provisions of this subsection and shall promulgate regulations necessary to carry out its provisions. The costs of the tests administered at the direction of the officer must be paid from the general fund of the State. However, if the person is subsequently convicted of violating Section 56-5-2930, 56-5-2933, or 56-5-2945, then, upon conviction, the person must pay twenty-five dollars for the costs of the tests. The twenty-five dollars must be placed by the Comptroller General into a special restricted account to be used by the State Law Enforcement Division to offset the costs of administration of the breath testing devices, breath testing site video program, and toxicology laboratory.

The person tested or giving samples for testing may have a qualified person of his choice conduct additional tests at the person's expense and must be notified in writing of that right. A person's request or failure to request additional blood tests is not admissible against the person in any proceeding. The failure or inability of the person tested to obtain additional tests does not preclude the admission of evidence relating to the tests or samples taken at the direction of the officer. The officer must provide affirmative assistance to the person to contact a qualified person to conduct and obtain additional tests. Affirmative assistance shall, at a minimum, include providing transportation for the person to the nearest medical facility which provides blood tests to determine a person's alcohol concentration. If the medical facility obtains the blood sample but refuses or fails to test the blood to determine the person's alcohol concentration, SLED must test the blood and provide the result to the person and to the officer. Failure to provide affirmative assistance upon request to obtain additional tests bars the admissibility of the breath test result in any judicial or administrative proceeding.

(E) A qualified person and his employer who obtain samples or administer the tests or assist in obtaining samples or administering of tests at the direction of the primary investigating officer are immune from civil and criminal liability unless the obtaining of samples or the administering of tests is performed in a negligent, reckless, or fraudulent manner. A person may not be required by the officer ordering the tests to obtain or take any sample of blood or urine.

(F) If a person refuses upon the request of the primary investigating officer to submit to chemical tests as provided in subsection (C), the department must suspend his license, permit, or any nonresident operating privilege, or deny the issuance of a license or permit to him for:

(1) six months; or

(2) one year, if the person, within the five years preceding the violation of this section, has been previously convicted of violating Section 56-5-2930, 56-5-2933, or 56-5-2945 or any other law of this State or another state that prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or another drug or has had a previous suspension imposed pursuant to Section 56-1-286, 56-5-2950, or 56-5-2951.

(G) If a person submits to a chemical test and the test result indicates an alcohol concentration of two one-hundredths of one percent or more, the department must suspend his license, permit, or any nonresident operating privilege, or deny the issuance of a license or permit to him for:

(1) three months; or

(2) six months, if the person, within the five years preceding the violation of this section, has been previously convicted of violating Section 56-5-2930, 56-5-2933, or 56-5-2945 or any other law of this State or another state that prohibits a person from driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or another drug or has had a previous suspension imposed pursuant to Section 56-1-286, 56-5-2950, or 56-5-2951.

(H) A person's driver's license, permit, or nonresident operating privilege must be restored when the person's period of suspension under subsection (F) or (G) has concluded, even if the person has not yet completed the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program in which he is enrolled. After the person's driving privilege is restored, he must continue to participate in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program in which he is enrolled. If the person withdraws from or in any way stops making satisfactory progress toward the completion of the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program, the person's license must be suspended until he completes the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program. A person must be attending or have completed an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program pursuant to Section 56-5-2990 before his driving privilege can be restored at the conclusion of the suspension period.

(I) A test may not be administered or samples taken unless, upon activation of the video recording equipment and prior to the commencement of the testing procedure, the person has been given a written copy of and verbally informed that:

(1) he does not have to take the test or give the samples but that his privilege to drive must be suspended or denied for at least six months if he refuses to submit to the tests and that his refusal may be used against him in court;

(2) his privilege to drive must be suspended for at least three months if he takes the test or gives the samples and has an alcohol concentration of two one-hundredths of one percent or more;

(3) he has the right to have a qualified person of his own choosing conduct additional independent tests at his expense;

(4) he has the right to request an administrative hearing within thirty days of the issuance of the notice of suspension; and

(5) he must enroll in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program within thirty days of the issuance of the notice of suspension if he does not request an administrative hearing or within thirty days of the issuance of notice that the suspension has been upheld at the administrative hearing.

The primary investigating officer must notify promptly the department of the refusal of a person to submit to a test requested pursuant to this section as well as the test result of any person who submits to a test pursuant to this section and registers an alcohol concentration of two one-hundredths of one percent or more. The notification must be in a manner prescribed by the department.

(J) If the test registers an alcohol concentration of two one-hundredths of one percent or more or if the person refuses to be tested, the primary investigating officer must issue a notice of suspension, and the suspension is effective beginning on the date of the alleged violation of this section. The person, within thirty days of the issuance of the notice of suspension, must enroll in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program pursuant to Section 56-5-2990 if he does not request an administrative hearing. If the person does not request an administrative hearing and does not enroll in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program within thirty days, the suspension remains in effect, and a temporary alcohol license must not be issued. If the person drives a motor vehicle during the period of suspension without a temporary alcohol license, the person must be penalized for driving while his license is suspended pursuant to Section 56-1-460.

(K) Within thirty days of the issuance of the notice of suspension the person may:

(1) obtain a temporary alcohol license by filing with the Department of Motor Vehicles a form for this purpose. A one-hundred-dollar fee must be assessed for obtaining a temporary alcohol license. Twenty-five dollars of the fee collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles must be distributed to the Department of Public Safety for supplying and maintaining all necessary vehicle videotaping equipment. The remaining seventy-five dollars must be placed by the Comptroller General into a special restricted account to be used by the Department of Motor Vehicles to defray its expenses. The temporary alcohol license allows the person to drive a motor vehicle without any restrictive conditions pending the outcome of the contested case hearing provided for in this section or the final decision or disposition of the matter; and

(2) request a contested case hearing before the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings pursuant to its rules of procedure.

At the contested case hearing if:

(a) the suspension is upheld, the person must enroll in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program and his driver's license, permit, or nonresident operating privilege must be suspended or the person must be denied the issuance of a license or permit for the remainder of the suspension periods provided for in subsections (F) and (G); or

(b) the suspension is overturned, the person must have his driver's license, permit, or nonresident operating privilege reinstated.

(L) The periods of suspension provided for in subsections (F) and (G) begin on the day the notice of suspension is issued, or at the expiration of any other suspensions, and continue until the person applies for a temporary alcohol license and requests an administrative hearing.

(M) If a person does not request a contested case hearing, he shall have waived his right to the hearing and his suspension must not be stayed but shall continue for the periods provided for in subsections (F) and (G).

(N) The notice of suspension must advise the person of the requirement to enroll in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program and of his right to obtain a temporary alcohol license and to request a contested case hearing. The notice of suspension also must advise the person that, if he does not request a contested case hearing within thirty days of the issuance of the notice of suspension, he must enroll in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program, and he waives his right to the contested case hearing, and the suspension continues for the periods provided for in subsections (F) and (G).

(O) A contested case hearing must be held after the request for the hearing is received by the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings. The scope of the hearing is limited to whether the person:

(1) was lawfully arrested or detained;

(2) was given a written copy of and verbally informed of the rights enumerated in subsection (I);

(3) refused to submit to a test pursuant to this section; or

(4) consented to taking a test pursuant to this section, and the:

(a) reported alcohol concentration at the time of testing was two one-hundredths of one percent or more;

(b) individual who administered the test or took samples was qualified pursuant to this section;

(c) test administered and samples taken were conducted pursuant to this section; and

(d) the machine was operating properly.

Nothing in this section prohibits the introduction of evidence at the contested case hearing on the issue of the accuracy of the breath test result.

The Department of Motor Vehicles and the arresting officer shall have the burden of proof in contested case hearings conducted pursuant to this section. If neither the Department of Motor Vehicles nor the arresting officer appears at the contested case hearing, the hearing officer shall rescind the suspension of the person's license, permit, or nonresident's operating privilege regardless of whether the person requesting the contested case hearing or the person's attorney appears at the contested case hearing.

A written order must be issued to all parties either reversing or upholding the suspension of the person's license, permit, or nonresident's operating privilege, or denying the issuance of a license or permit. If the suspension is upheld, the person must receive credit for the number of days his license was suspended before he received a temporary alcohol license and requested the contested case hearing.

(P) A contested case hearing is a contested proceeding under the Administrative Procedures Act, and a person has a right to appeal the decision of the hearing officer pursuant to that act to the Administrative Law Court in accordance with its appellate rules. The filing of an appeal shall stay the suspension until a final decision is issued.

(Q) A person who is unconscious or otherwise in a condition rendering him incapable of refusal is considered to be informed and not to have withdrawn the consent provided for in subsection (B) of this section.

(R) When a nonresident's privilege to drive a motor vehicle in this State has been suspended under the procedures of this section, the department shall give written notice of the action taken to the motor vehicle administrator of the state of the person's residence and of any state in which he has a license or permit.

(S) A person required to submit to a test must be provided with a written report including the time of arrest, the time of the tests, and the results of the tests before any proceeding in which the results of the tests are used as evidence. A person who obtains additional tests shall furnish a copy of the time, method, and results of any additional tests to the officer before any trial, hearing, or other proceeding in which the person attempts to use the results of the additional tests as evidence.

(T) A person whose driver's license or permit is suspended under this section is not required to file proof of financial responsibility.

(U) The department shall administer the provisions of this section, not including subsection (D), and shall promulgate regulations necessary to carry out its provisions.

(V) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no suspension imposed pursuant to this section is counted as a demerit or result in any insurance penalty for automobile insurance purposes if at the time he was stopped, the person whose license is suspended had an alcohol concentration that was less than eight one-hundredths of one percent.

HISTORY: 1998 Act No. 434, Section 2; 2000 Act No. 390, Sections 3-5; 2001 Act No. 79, Section 2.C; 2003 Act No. 61, Section 4; 2006 Act No. 381, Section 8, eff June 13, 2006; 2008 Act No. 201, Section 2, eff February 10, 2009; 2012 Act No. 212, Section 2, eff June 7, 2012; 2012 Act No. 264, Section 2, eff June 18, 2012.

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