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Charleston DUI Law Blog

Know the components of a field sobriety test

A police officer who stops you for the suspicion of drunk driving will have to try to ascertain if you are actually impaired. This can be rather complicated because some of the testing that must be done is subjective. Field sobriety tests can fall under this subjective label because the results are based solely on the interpretation of the results as noted by the officer.

Field sobriety tests are usually done before other tests, like Breathalyzers, are done. The standardized field sobriety test is a three-part test that includes a walk-and-turn, a horizontal gaze nystagmus and one-leg stand test. These tests are sometimes used in conjunction with non-standardized tests that could include having to recite the alphabet or touching your nose with a finger while your eyes are closed.

3 Scary Facts About Halloween DUIs

Halloween DUI - Pumpkins.jpg

This upcoming Halloween weekend, many of the police costumes that you see out and about won't be costumes at all. They will be uniforms worn by actual police officers and highway patrol officers who are out in force in an effort to combat drunk driving in South Carolina.

Why the increased focus on DUIs? The number of fatal accidents in South Carolina is currently on pace to be just as deadly as last year and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) wants to improve on that number. They view Halloween weekend as a prime opportunity to help accomplish that goal. Combine this with the fact that police are traditionally extra vigilant and DUI checkpoints are more prevalent around Halloween, and the possibility of being arrested for DUI skyrockets.

With that in mind, here are three facts that you should know about DUIs in South Carolina on Halloween and Halloween weekend.

Defense options in drunk driving cases are numerous

In our previous blog post, we discussed the fact that Breathalyzers must be calibrated in order to produce accurate results. If the person who is using the device doesn't calibrate it properly, the results could read much higher or lower than the sample given. We know that you might have some questions about how to determine if the device is calibrated. We can help you explore whether this is a possible defense strategy you might opt to use in your case.

This is only of the possible strategies that you can potentially use for your defense. We can discuss other possible tactics with you so that you are prepared for what we might need to cover while defending your case. We usually work on this determination by looking into the circumstances surrounding your case, which start at the time of your arrest.

What you should know about Breathalyzers

When a police officer asks someone to submit to a breath test to determine his or her blood alcohol concentration, the test is carried out on a breath testing device commonly called a Breathalyzer. Courts accept the results of this test as evidence of a person's BAC, but the police department has to show that the machine can produce results that are reliable.

The most common challenge to the Breathalyzer is whether the machine was working properly when the test was given. Breathalyzers must be calibrated regularly, and there is regular maintenance required, too. The basic guidelines for calibration and maintenance are:

What is a route restricted license?

A route restricted license allows someone whose license has been suspended to drive to and from his or her place of education, education, Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program classes or a court ordered drug program. It is only for those who have a non-commercial license and it is for the length of the driver's license suspension.

A person can get a route restricted license only once and only for the following types of suspensions:

Myrtle Beach news anchor facing DUI charge

A Myrtle Beach news anchor is facing a charge for driving under the influence after he was pulled over by a state trooper in the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 10. Interestingly, in the biographical information about the anchor, Michael Maely, on the station's website, he says he is happiest "when I am behind the wheel, ideally on a closed track!"

Unfortunately, Maely wasn't on a closed track when the South Carolina Highway Patrol says he was going 96 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone on U.S. 17 Bypass shortly before 4 a.m.

Field sobriety tests can produce false positive results

Taking a field sobriety test is one thing that police officers can ask drivers to do if they think a driver is drunk. The test, which is actually a battery of multiple tests, is supposed to clue the officer into whether the person is intoxicated. The issue here is that the tests aren't always accurate.

People in South Carolina are in a catch-22 position with field sobriety tests. You probably want to take the test so that you can show that you are sober; however, in doing so you run the risk of a false positive. That is a hard position to be placed in.

Boating under the influence is a very serious charge

As the warmer months of the year come to a close, people are likely going to head out to enjoy the waterways before the cold weather makes it uncomfortable. It is important for people who are heading out on boats and personal watercraft to remain sober if they are going to be operating the water-based vehicles. If you drink and boat, there is a chance that you could face boating under the influence charges.

Many people don't realize just how serious of an issue boating under the influence is. When it comes to fatal boating accidents, alcohol was involved in 16 percent of the cases. That harrowing statistic should really hammer home the importance of remaining sober.

Second DUI arrest for former Gamecock cornerback

Victor Hampton, who played cornerback for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks from 2011 to 2013, has been arrested again on charges of driving with a suspended license and driving under the influence.

The Columbia Police Department reported that the 24-year-old Hampton was stopped while allegedly driving a vehicle with only one headlight that was working. The arresting officer reported that he "detected a strong odor of alcohol coming from him." A field sobriety test was completed and the officer placed the former football player under arrest.

"Sober or Slammer" Patrols In Full Force Labor Day Weekend

DUI checkpoint Interstate sign.jpg

Over Labor Day weekend, state and local law enforcement in South Carolina will be on high alert for drunk drivers. In addition to the usual attention that would be paid to roads around the state during this time of year, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety's Sober or Slammer campaign will add increased patrols and scrutiny to drivers statewide.

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