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Pass the breath test? DUI charges can be filed in South Carolina

Dealing with charges for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can sometimes be very complex. In many cases, South Carolina authorities rely on a Breathlyzer test as evidence of intoxication. At the same time, however, law enforcement officials may move forward with charges even if a person passes a breath test.

Although 0.08 percent is the legal limit for blood-alcohol content among South Carolina drivers, that standard may not be used in every single case. Prosecutors may still pursue DUI charges if they believe that a person was too impaired to drive. Of course, this kind of ambiguity can create legal challenges.

National news outlets are picking up on a fascinating story that fits this idea: A man was arrested for DUI, despite blowing a 0.00 percent on a breath test. Although this story took place in Texas, it still remains relevant to readers in South Carolina.

In this case, the man passed a breath test for intoxication -- with flying colors -- but faced the possibility of being convicted on criminal charges. It's worth noting that authorities immediately dropped the charges as soon as local media began an investigation into the matter.

Despite having the DUI charges cleared, the drunk driving arrest could stay on the man's record. Law enforcement officials insist that they did the right thing by arresting the man, because he apparently appeared to be intoxicated. To support this claim, authorities point to the fact that the man swayed during a field sobriety test that required him to stand on one leg. Of course, this is a task that many people might not be able to pass, even if they haven't had a drop to drink.

When dealing with DUI charges despite passing a breath test in the field, it may be important to consider the totality of circumstances and the strength of the evidence presented by prosecutors. Even though law enforcement may claim that they have reason to believe a driver was impaired, their evidence may not hold water when subjected to scrutiny.

Source: Yahoo News, "Man blows 0.00 on breathalyzer, gets arrested for DWI," Will Lerner, Feb. 25, 2014

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