Charleston DUI Law Blog

Teens still drink and drive in South Carolina

Some reports show that teen drinking and driving is actually going down, both in South Carolina and all across the United States. In fact, comparing the numbers from 1991 with those gathered in 2012 shows that drunk driving by teens fell by more than half -- 54 percent -- in roughly 20 years.

However, it's important to note that this movement does not mean it is no longer an issue. Ten percent of all teens still drink and drive. These drivers die in accidents far more often than those who do not drink and drive, with drivers who fall between the ages of 16 and 20 clocking in at a full 17 percent more likely to pass away if their blood alcohol concentration goes over the legal limit of .08 percent.

Defending against boating while intoxicated charges

For many South Carolina boaters, taking a group of friends out on the water for a day of fishing and fun could be their favorite way to spend a Saturday. However, every time you engage in this fun activity, it is vital to keep safety first -- not just for you and your friends' health and well-being but to avoid getting into trouble with the law.

Among the many boating safety laws that govern boaters in South Carolina are specific boating under the influence of alcohol laws. These laws go into effect when you are out on the water and if they are violated, you could be arrested and charged with a crime.

A BAC test under 0.08 could still be used against a driver

The results of a BAC test are a remarkably common type of evidence in South Carolina DUI cases. One assumption that some people may have regarding BAC tests is that, as long as their BAC tests below the legal limit of 0.08 percent, they don't have to worry about the BAC test results being brought against them as evidence of having driven while drunk. However, here in South Carolina, such an assumption is quite simply incorrect.

A little background on what exactly the legal limit means in South Carolina law can help shed some light on this topic. Under state law, when a person drives with a BAC that is at or over the legal limit, it is inferred that they are under the influence. However, this does not mean that a person has to have had a BAC at or over the legal limit to be found to have driven while under the influence. Factors other than BAC can be considered when determining whether a driver engaged in DUI, such as forms of evidence touching on whether a driver's alcohol consumption caused an appreciable and material impairment of their driving faculties.

South Carolina police officer accused of DUI

An officer with the Myrtle Beach Police Department has been arrested and charged with drunk driving. The arrest came after a car accident in which the police officer's truck crashed into a ditch. In addition to the DUI charge, he is also facing open container charges.

A member of the South Carolina Highway Patrol arrived at the scene of the accident. He allegedly witnessed the 29-year-old police officer climbing from a window of the truck that he had crashed into a ditch on Postal Way in Myrtle Beach. Reports indicate that the trooper noted the scent of alcohol on the officer's breath prior to making the arrest.

Interacting with police at a DUI checkpoint

When approaching a drunk driving checkpoint, virtually all South Carolina residents will feel an increase in their level of stress. This can be true even in cases where a driver has not been drinking at all, and has no reason to feel tense. For those who have consumed a reasonable amount of alcohol and waited a safe amount of time before getting behind the wheel, the anxiety experienced can be significant. One attorney in a southern state has made a public suggestion that drivers do not have to speak with police officers who are manning a DUI checkpoint, and discusses why this may be a wise course of action.

The article points out that individuals stopped at a DUI checkpoint are well within their constitutional rights to refuse to speak with officers manning the operation. It is asserted that the only course of action required is for the driver to make his or her license visible to the officer, and provide a statement that they have "no comment." This can be accomplished by means of a written statement, and some drivers are carrying printed versions within their vehicle in case the need arises.

Sheriff's Sergeant charged with DUI after accident

When an individual is arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, the need to mount an aggressive legal response is immediate. This is true regardless of one's socioeconomic status or career path. However, when an individual holds a position within the public service sector, the damage to reputation and community trust that follows a South Carolina DUI charge can be devastating.

This may be the case for a Beaufort County Sheriff's Sergeant who was recently arrested following a car accident. The 47-year-old man lost control of his Ford SUV and crashed into a wooded area near the intersection of Parker Drive and Bay Pines Road in Beaufort. When emergency responders arrived at the scene, suspicion arose that he may have been drinking prior to the crash.

Truck driver facing DUI charges in South Carolina

South Carolina readers may be aware of a recent arrest in which a commercial truck driver has been accused of drunk driving. The story has been covered in depth, and the name of the driver has been made public. As the case moves toward court, it is likely that he will suffer a range of negative reaction, which could include the loss of his job. This is an unfortunate result of many DUI charges, even when those accusations fail to lead to a conviction.

Law enforcement reports assert that the South Carolina man was observed driving in an erratic manner on Interstate 75. Other drivers contacted authorities to report the matter, and sheriff's deputies approached the grain truck that the man was driving. They attempted to pull him over, but report that he did not stop the vehicle until he had driven an additional 20 miles on the same roadway.

Lawmakers hope to strengthen laws regarding drunk boating

Many in South Carolina remember the tragic death of a 19-year-old woman who lost her life in a boating accident last summer. The case led to a great deal of debate within the state concerning laws that govern drunk boating, as well as other activities on the state's waterways what can be impacted by impairment. Now, lawmakers are poised to request a closer look at  the matter and perhaps lead to legislative changes that could make it easier to charge and convict individuals who take to the water after drinking.

The case that sparked the issue began when the 19-year-old woman was struck by a jet ski that was under the control of a 26-year-old male. Court records show that a man has been charged with reckless homicide by operation of a boat in the matter. The newly proposed resolution asks the Department of Natural Resources to evaluate South Carolina's existing regulations that govern boating safety.

DUI charges for high-level political staffer

One of the most devastating aspects of being charged with drunk driving is the immediate loss of privacy when the matter is reported in the media. Regardless of the fact that a great many DUI charges eventually get dropped, the damage has largely been done by the time the matter reaches that stage of the game. This is true regardless of the level of public recognition one holds, but when an individual holds a position within South Carolina politics, the damage can be far worse.

An example is found in the recent arrest of Mark Plowden, the chief of staff working under Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster. Plowden was stopped by police in Columbia, after an officer allegedly saw a vehicle traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of travel on Assembly Street. The traffic stop took place just after midnight on a recent Saturday.

Senate to consider bill after recent DUI case

Many South Carolina residents are aware that the state has a number of outdated and somewhat ridiculous laws that remain on the books. Among these is the absolute prohibition of minors playing pinball; another forbids fortune tellers from setting up shop without a permit from the state. One unusual law has been brought to the attention of the public after the recent arrest of a sheriff under suspicion of DUI.

The case has been covered both here and elsewhere, and centers on an incident in December in which the sheriff of Berkeley County was arrested and charged with DUI. He was arrested by law enforcement officers in the normal manner. However, when the matter was brought before the county's magistrate, there was a question of whether that individual had the authority to set bond.

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