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South Carolina man loses job after routine DUI traffic stop

In South Carolina, being accused of driving under the influence of alcohol is a charge that comes with potentially serious consequences. However, if individuals refuse to take a breath test after getting pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, the severe consequences can compound.

In addition to severe penalties, accusations of driving under the influence can also negatively impact a person's reputation and career. The internal affairs chief for South Carolina's Department of Public Safety was recently fired because of his behavior during a traffic stop. The stop was initiated because a police officer believed the chief was under the influence of alcohol. The man was not found to be under the influence of alcohol but his employment was still terminated. The specifics of the encounter are detailed below.

On January 10, the internal affairs chief was pulled over after a police officer saw him swerve while driving. Upon being pulled over, the man stated that he swerved when he tried to put a cap back on a bottle of orange juice. He subsequently refused field sobriety testing. Therefore, the police officer put him in handcuffs.

The traffic stop lasted 80 minutes and was caught on tape. The man eventually submitted to field sobriety testing and passed all tests. He was not charged with drunk driving. However, his supervisor stated that he was still fired based upon his behavior during the stop.

According to South Carolina's implied consent laws, breath test refusal can result in a revoked license. This man luckily did not experience this penalty. However, he instead was slapped with a much more unexpected consequence based upon the circumstances of the situation. Therefore, as this case shows, acting out during a routine traffic stop in addition to refusing field sobriety testing could also hurt a person's career.

Source: IndependentMail.com, "South Carolina Public Safety internal affairs chief fired," Feb. 2, 2013

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