Proposed Law to Crack Down on Drunk Driving
South Carolina has one of the highest death tolls from drunken driving incidents in the entire country. In 2012 alone, 358 people in the state lost their lives in drunken driving accidents, and a recent accident resulted in a mother and her daughter being killed by a drunk driver. In order to combat this issue, lawmakers recently created a stronger version of what is known as Emma’s Law.
The law passed the House Judiciary Committee and will now move to the House floor for all South Carolina House members to cast their vote, which could happen quickly. One member of the committee that proposed the law pushed the issue, claiming that many innocent people die at the hands of drunk drivers every day. While the law is currently in place, the changes would toughen up the standards and penalties for those who drive under the influence.
Changes to Current DUI Law
The proposed changes to the current law would implement stricter penalties for those caught drunk driving.
1) The law would close certain loopholes that have historically made it easier for drunk drivers to drive again without the use of an ignition interlock device.
2) First time offenders that are convicted after refusing to give a Breathalyzer test would be required to use an ignition interlock device in the future to operate their vehicle.
3) Those who refuse to give a Breathalyzer test and are later convicted would never be given provisional licenses.
4) Ignition interlock devices would be required for any drivers that was convicted or pled guilty to driving under the influence after blowing at least a .15 on the Breathalyzer test.
The ignition interlock device does not allow the vehicle to start until the driver blows into the device and proves that he or she isn’t under the influence of alcohol. Studies show that fatality numbers drop significantly in areas where ignition interlock devices are used, and at least 20 states use these devices, even for first time offenders. Currently, South Carolina only requires multiple DUI offenders to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
Throughout the state, over 700 devices are currently in use. The bill is expected to go before the House within the next month.
Rights for Everyone
Although there are hundreds of victims of drunk driving every year, drivers are innocent until proven guilty, and deserve their day in court to explain their side of the story. At Nosal & Jeter, LLP, our attorneys are here to protect the rights of all citizens, even when the fault seems obvious. Contact us if you are facing a fine for a traffic or DUI ticket. If you need legal help, Call Us at (803) 351-3597 to schedule a Free Consultation.
Source: Herald Online, “SC House panel backs get tough DUI bill,” John Monk, March 25, 2014