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Can drivers face DUI charges for a BAC below .08?

The legal blood alcohol level to be considered drunk while driving in South Carolina is 0.08. So, then how was a woman in South Carolina recently arrested and slapped with DUI charges after blowing a .008?

That is the same question that was asked by her attorney and also the reason why he prefiled a bill with the South Carolina House of Representatives. This prefiled bill would prevent drivers from being charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol level is below .05.

In this case, a woman that was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving did not wish to take a Breathalyzer test but instead agreed to be taken to the hospital for a blood test. The results came back with a result of .008, which means she had basically no alcohol in her system. However, the police still took her to jail and charged her with drunk driving.

The representative that has filed this bill argues that police simply have too much discretion to determine whether drunk driving charges should be the result of any amount of alcohol in someone's system. He also argues that a person is not impaired at all up to a BAC of .04. The representative is also advocating for "courtesy DUIs."

In the case of a courtesy DUI, if someone believes a friend is drunk and doesn't want them to drive, he or she can call the police to administer a Breathalyzer test therefore preventing the occurrence of an accident, DUI charges or other more severe outcomes of drinking and driving.

The passage of this bill could be interesting news for residents of South Carolina. Although a DUI charge does not necessarily mean an automatic conviction, it still means that the person must fight to prevent a conviction and the penalties with which the conviction is accompanied.

Source: WSPA, "No DUI Charges for SC Drivers Under .05 BAC Under Prefiled Bill," Robert Kittle, Dec. 12, 2012

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