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Charleston DUI Law Blog

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.

Blood-alcohol concentration: A primer

In many drunk driving cases, your blood-alcohol concentration is a primary factor in the case against you. Knowing what the BAC is and how it is determined might help you to understand why this such an important consideration when you are facing drunk driving charges.

The BAC is an estimate of how much alcohol is in your blood. Higher BAC levels are associated with greater levels of impairment. It is important to note that the way alcohol affects each person is different, so it is possible that what get your BAC to a specific level could be more or less than what it would take to get another person to that same level.

How do officers know when a driver might be drunk?

An important point to consider in all drunk driving cases is the reason the officer pulled the vehicle over. Generally, a police officer must have a valid reason, such as a reasonable suspicion to think that a driver was drunk or a traffic offense, in order to pull a vehicle over. Without a valid reason, the stop might be considered unconstitutional.

What are some reasons why a cop might think a person is driving drunk?

Know the drunk driving laws in South Carolina

Drunk and drugged driving are illegal in South Carolina. If you are pulled over after you have been drinking or using drugs, there is a good chance that you will face criminal charges for those actions. State statutes provide rules for testing for alcohol, limits for the test results and the penalties that you will face if you are convicted.

One important law that every driver should know about is the Implied Consent law. This law means that if you are asked to submit to a breath, urine or blood test to determine your blood alcohol concentration, the fact that you have a driver's license means that you have already consented to the test. Failing to agree to take the test when you are asked could mean that you face a license suspension of six months on a first offense or nine months if the refusal comes within a decade of a previous alcohol-related conviction or suspension.

Negative Breathalyzer readings for college football player

When you're stopped for suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you may be asked to perform field sobriety tests. The results of these standardized tests, as well as the observations of the police officer, are generally why an arrest is made.

After an arrest, you may be taken to the police department to provide a breath sample to determine what your blood alcohol concentration is. This test gives more validation to the results of the field sobriety tests and the officer's observations. However, there are cases in which someone can perform badly on field sobriety tests and have a BAC of .00.

Is there any way to challenge field sobriety tests?

When you've been arrested for a DUI, you may wonder if there is any way to contest the results of a field sobriety test. This may be the way to go if you refuse the chemical tests for alcohol, as the FSTs could be the primary evidence against you.

Here are the ways that you potentially could challenge a FST:

Man accused of boating under the influence charged

When you're on the water, you have to be safe. When you drive a boat, you're expected to drive while you're sober, not while you're consuming alcohol. Boating under the influence can lead to serious accidents, and victims can be hit by boats, injured in a collision or thrown from the boat and drowned.

In a case out of South Carolina, a man facing a BUI charge had his bond set at $20,000 for an accident that left at least one person dead and another missing. According to the story, the boat was being driven as part of a retirement party. There were several boats on the lake, many owned by the people who were holding the party.

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