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The Offense of "Child Endangerment" in South Carolina

Recently, there have been a lot of news stories and articles covering parents or adults who have been charged with DUI with children in the car. I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about and discuss the law in South Carolina when a parent or guardian is charged with DUI and there is a child in the car.

South Carolina Code Section 56-5-2947 codifies and explains the charge of “Child Endangerment". First, it applies to any driver 18 years of age or over who is charged with a violation of either DUI or DUAC (Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration) and the passenger or passengers are 15 years old or younger. If the driver is convicted of DUI or DUAC, they can also be convicted of this charge. This is a separate and distinct offense. It will be written and charged on a separate blue or traffic ticket. The mandatory punishment, upon conviction, is a fine of up to one half of the superior charge and/or a term of up to one half of the maximum in jail for the superior charge (DUI or DUAC). Additionally, the SC-DMV must suspend the person’s drivers license for 60 days. Critically, the convicted driver can not apply for a provisional license or enroll in the ADSAP program until the 60 days suspension period has been completed.

Steve Sumner, UpstateDUI

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