5 Things You May Not Know About DUI in SC

It is illegal in the State of South Carolina to drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent or above. Did you know about one in three traffic deaths in the United States involve a drunk driver? Alarmingly, a recent study has shown that South Carolina is the state with the third highest drunk driving fatality rate.  Regardless of appropriate planning, and decisions about driving, you may find yourself being stopped for DUI. The Laws relating to DUI can be difficult to navigate.

Here are 5 Facts:

1. Field Sobriety Tests are Flawed

In the course of a drunk driving investigation, police officers will usually administer a series of “field sobriety tests” (FSTs). If they are not administered and scored exactly as required by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they have ZERO reliability. Even when administered properly, these three tests are not always accurate. Innocent people are often determined to be under the influence, when in fact they are not.

A failed field sobriety test usually can be explained by one of these four flawed actions or defective field sobriety test procedures:

  • The officer instructs the sobriety tests incorrectly.
  • The person asked to perform the field sobriety test has a prior injury, recent surgery, is too old or out of shape to “pass” sobriety tests.
  • The surface conditions, lighting conditions or weather conditions impact the detained person’s ability to execute field sobriety test exercises.
  • The officer’s scoring method is subjective.

By refusing to take the field sobriety test exercises, and remaining calm and silent, most drivers protect themselves from self-incrimination or flawed and defective test results.

2. You Do NOT Have to Perform a Field Sobriety Test

If an officer pulls over a driver and suspects that he or she is under the influence of alcohol, the officer may request that the driver perform a field sobriety test. You are not legally required to take these tests. Refusing a field sobriety test will reduce the amount of evidence that may be used against you in front of a judge or jury and will avoid the risk of a flawed or defective test result. Unlike the chemical test refusal, there are no legal penalties for refusing to take a field sobriety test.

3.  A Breath Test is NOT Always Correct

Breath analysis is by far the most commonly used method of testing for blood alcohol concentrations in DUI cases. Breath tests have had a long history of controversy over their effectiveness and validity when used as evidence in a court of law.  While a breath test is much more accurate than a field sobriety test, it still can be incorrect and give false positives.

4. You Do NOT Have to Perform a Breath Test

You have the option to refuse a breath test.  Each individual situation and type of test requested will yield different results. Whether it is a good idea to refuse will depend on various factors.  In South Carolina, if you refuse a breath test, you will automatically have your driver’s license suspended.

5. Anything Motorized is Subject to DUI Laws

DUI arrests are not limited to people driving automobiles. Drinking too much and getting behind the wheel of anything motorized puts you and others around you in jeopardy. Therefore, police can charge you with DUI if you are driving anything while impaired.  Case in point, A Wellford, SC man was charged with a DUI while driving a lawnmower.

Contact us here right away for a free consultation!

Thurmond Kirchner & Timbes, P.A., is based in Charleston SC. Our criminal defense office is located at 15 Middle Atlantic Wharf, near historic Charleston’s Waterfront Park. Call us at 843-937-8000 to speak with a criminal defense attorney or contact us here. 

The information provided on this website is intended to help you better understand general information about the law. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer. Every case is different, and you should consult a lawyer before applying the information contained herein to any particular circumstance affecting you.