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Charleston DUI Law Blog

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.

Know your rights when you are pulled over for suspicion of DUI

South Carolina law takes a harsh stance against drunk driving. Most people can understand the need for these laws. If you end up having to drive after you have been drinking, there is chance that you will be pulled over by a law enforcement officer. This might occur because the law enforcement officer observes you driving in a manner that is consistent with drunk driving.

We know that being pulled over for any reason is an unnerving experience. When you know that you have had a couple of beers or other alcoholic beverages, the situation seems much worse. If you are pulled over for the suspicion of drunk driving, you should know a couple of basic points.

What happens when blood alcohol level reaches .08?

Any amount of alcohol in your system starts to impair you. Even with a blood alcohol level of only .02, you probably feel more relaxed than normal and your judgment is slightly impaired. By the time you reach .08, though, the impact can be much more severe.

Commonly, at .08 blood alcohol level, individuals experience poor muscle coordination. That doesn't just mean you stumble a bit. It also means your reaction time is worse than normal and your senses, including vision and hearing, can be impaired. Since speech is governed by many small muscle movements, you begin to slur words.

2 on motorcycle killed by drunk driver

A 35-year old man was allegedly drunk behind the wheel when he crashed his 2005 Nissan Altima into the back of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Two people on the motorcycle were killed in the crash.

According to reports from the South Carolina Highway Patrol, the crash happened very early in the morning, at about 2:45 a.m. It took place on State Highway 28, about a mile to the west of the town of Anderson and close to State Highway 24.

4th of July DUI Checkpoints: What You Need To Know

Car on flag.jpg

Due to its reputation as the deadliest holiday weekend of the year, law enforcement in the Charleston area and throughout South Carolina set up DUI checkpoints before, during, and right after the 4th of July weekend. While the goal of these checkpoints is to promote public safety, it is all-too-common for police officers to be a bit over-eager in their desire to protect people. When this happens and the rules regarding DUI checkpoints are not followed, it's innocent drivers who suffer.


Underage drinking can lead to serious problems

Drunk driving charges pose problems for adults. When a person who hasn't yet turned 21 years old opts to drive after drinking alcohol, the problems that they can face are often very serious. Zero-tolerance laws mean that a person who is under 21 can face legal issues even if they have a blood-alcohol concentration that is below the .08 percent that is the limit for adults.

For people who are under the legal drinking age, the limit for BAC is .02 percent in South Carolina. This means that the limit is a lot lower. In some cases, even something like a glass of wine might lead to criminal charges if you are under 21 and drive after having that wine.

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