South Carolina Ignition Interlock Devices

An Ignition Interlock Device is a device that prevents a vehicle from starting if it detects a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over a pre-set level. It is installed inside the vehicle, near the driver's seat, and is connected to the engine's ignition system. A driver who operates a vehicle with the device installed must blow air into the device before the vehicle is started and periodically while the vehicle is in motion. If the BAC is above a specified level, the vehicle will not start.

In South Carolina, ignition interlock devices are governed by the Prevention of Underage Drinking and Access to Alcohol Act. The Act designated the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services (SCDPPPS) as the lead agency in administering the program.

The Act provides that if you have been convicted of a second or subsequent DUI offense, have completed the required license suspension period and enrolled in ADSAP, and you wish to get your driver’s license back, you must have an ignition interlock device installed. You then can get a special driver’s license from the DMV. The device must then be examined every 60 days, during which time data from the device is downloaded and sent to an ignition interlock device program administrator for review. Installation and inspection costs associated with the device  are all paid by the DUI offender.

The length of time that an interlock device is required to be affixed to a motor vehicle following the completion of a period of license suspension imposed on the offender is two years for a second DUI offense, three years for a third DUI offense, and the remainder of the offender's life for a fourth or subsequent DUI offense.

Possible South Carolina DUI Law Changes Regarding Ignition Interlocks

A bill is working its way through the South Carolina legislature that would require people convicted of a first-time DUI offense to install an ignition interlock system on their vehicles. Ignition interlocks would be required for any driver convicted of a DUI and had their license reinstated.  Sixteen states currently require ignition interlocks for all offenders convicted of driving under the influence.

Additionally, drivers who refuse to submit to a breath test would be required to install the devices, regardless of whether they are later convicted of their DUI charge. 

Source: SC General Assembly, "Ignition Interlock Bill"; SC Department of Probation, Parole, and Pardon Services, "Ignition Interlock Devices in South Carolina"


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