New South Carolina Laws Would Tighten the Belt in DUI Arrests
There are major consequences associated with a drunk driving conviction. Even drivers in South Carolina with just a first-time offense could be in jail for as long as 90 days and face fines of $1,000 or more. Additionally, a recent study by InsuranceQuotes.com found that DUI charges increase auto insurance premiums by an average of 93 percent. New state laws aim to make the process for arrest and trial even more strict.
By the Numbers
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, South Carolina is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to DUI arrests and fatalities. In 2012, more than 350 people died as a result of drinking and driving, which is a 16 percent increase from 2011. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2012:
- Nearly 18,000 drivers were arrested on DUI charges
- 99 drivers younger than 18 were arrested on suspicion of DUI
Currently on the Books
In South Carolina, an individual is considered over the legal limit if his or her blood alcohol content is above .08. In most instances, a judge will take an individual’s BAC into account when determining penalties, which range from license suspension to jail to as much as $10,000 in fines for a multiple offender. Recently, the state passed a statute known as Emma’s Law, which means anyone convicted of DUI with a BAC of .15 or higher will have an ignition interlock device placed on the vehicle for six months.
Lawmakers have now taken additional measures to regulate the arrest process. Across the state, there is variety in the way that law enforcement use video recordings in DUI arrests. It is possible for someone pulled over on suspicion of DUI to step out of the frame, thus giving a judge reason to deny a prosecutor from using the tape as evidence. The proposed measure would:
- Standardize the process of pulling over drivers suspected of DUI
- Require that any video taken has audio
- Eliminate the possibility of dismissing cases due to a driver stepping out of frame
People who are facing DUI charges have options. At Nosal & Jeter, one of our attorneys is a former police officer and knows how to build strong defenses to dispute drunk driving charges. Because the burden of proof is on the prosecution, our attorneys may be able to demonstrate reasonable doubt in sobriety tests, video evidence or other aspects of the arrest. No matter what the details of your case may be, it is always in your best interest to contact an attorney in the hopes of getting charges either reduced or dismissed.
Source: WISTV, “Proposed law would require standards for DUI arrest videos,” PJ Randhawa, May 20, 2014