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SC to require breathalyzers in the vehicles of all DUI offenders?

Numerous posts on this blog have discussed the potentially severe consequences of a DUI charge in South Carolina. Those penalties may go up. Some representatives in the state legislature are attempting to pass legislation that would strengthen drunk driving laws and require the installation of a breathalyzer in the vehicles of first-time offenders.

The breathalyzer that the bill refers to is better known as an ignition interlock device. When a car has an IID installed, the driver must blow into it and it must register a lack of alcohol on the driver's breath before the vehicle can be started.

According to the bill that has been proposed in South Carolina, first time drunken driving offenders that have a BAC of 0.12 or higher will be required to have an IID installed in their vehicle.

For DUI second offense and third time offenders, the state's current legislation provides for an immediate suspension of their license for a limited amount of time. After that suspension period has passed, these drivers are required to install an IID in their vehicles. Under the newly proposed legislation, the suspension would be abolished and immediate installment of the ignition-connected breathalyzer would be required for these offenders.

The legislation has passed the House and advanced to the Senate for their approval. Although some critics may believe that the goals of this legislation are all punitive in nature, some supporters argue that the impact is positive because it allows offenders a way to drive to work and maintain their employment.

Only time will tell the fate of this legislation. However, many states are moving in this direction and although some believe this may face difficulty there is also the possibility that it will pass through the Senate. Residents may want to pay attention to developments as the potential consequences for a DUI conviction may change drastically.

Source: heraldonline.com, "SC bill would expand breathalyzer program for DUI offenders," Feb. 12, 2013

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