Golf Cart DUI Arrests on the Rise in South Carolina
Golf cart DUI arrests are on the rise in communities throughout South Carolina. Residents in golf cart friendly communities increasingly rely on golf carts as a primary means of transportation. Golf cart use has become so common that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley recently signed a bill permitting properly equipped golf carts to be driven at night. As more South Carolinians take to the road in their golf carts it is important to understand the consequences of carting under the influence.
South Carolina DUI Laws Apply to Golf Carts
South Carolina’s DUI laws prohibit driving a golf cart while under the influence. Under South Carolina law, a golf cart is a “vehicle” subject to the state’s DUI statutes. A “vehicle” is defined as a “device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks[.]” Sect. 56-5-120. A “motor vehicle” is a “vehicle which is self-propelled[.]” Sect. 56-5-130. South Carolina law provides that it is “unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle within this State while under the influence of alcohol[.]” Sect. 56.5.2930. Clearly, a golf cart is a “motor vehicle” under South Carolina’s Code of Laws and subject to DUI prohibitions. You can get a DUI on a golf cart in South Carolina.
Severe Penalties for Golf Cart DUI in South Carolina
The penalties for a golf cart DUI in South Carolina are among the toughest in the country. There are mandatory minimum punishments for DUI convictions in South Carolina. The law provides more severe punishment for subsequent DUI convictions and high blood-alcohol concentrations. The following chart sets forth the mandatory minimum penalties for a first offense DUI conviction.
Mandatory minimum penalties are much steeper for subsequent offenses and higher blood-alcohol content levels. For example, a conviction for a third DUI offense with a blood-alcohol content over 0.15% results in a fine of $7,500 and six month jail sentence.
Golf Cart DUI Enforcement in South Carolina on the Rise
As golf cart use increases across South Carolina, law enforcement will continue to step up DUI enforcement on impaired golf cart drivers. The rise in golf cart use across South Carolina has resulted in a significant increase in alcohol-related accidents involving golf carts. The recent bill allowing golf cart use at night in South Carolina will likely result in additional alcohol-related golf cart accidents and greater law enforcement efforts to stop impaired carting. South Carolina law clearly prohibits operating a golf cart while under the influence and a DUI conviction carries very severe penalties. From mandatory fines, jail time, and loss of driver’s license, the costs of impaired carting are not worth the risk.