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What are the requirements for South Carolina's DUI videotape law?

Over the lifespan of this blog, we have spent time taking a look at various aspects of South Carolina's drunk driving laws and how they might affect an individual who is arrested for driving under the influence. It’s clear that understanding and addressing the intricacies and unique aspects of the law can make all the difference in a criminal case.

One interesting component of South Carolina's DUI laws is that they very clearly provide guidelines for videotaping traffic stops and subsequent arrests. The law requires the video recording to begin as soon as the officer turns on the police cruiser's blue lights, signaling a traffic stop.

At the scene of the stop, the video must include any field sobriety tests conducted by the officer. At this point, if the officer has probable cause to believe that the driver is intoxicated, then Miranda Rights must be read to the suspected individual, which must also be included in the video footage.

After the arrest is conducted, video must also be captured at the site of the breath test. In South Carolina, there is a mandatory waiting period of 20 minutes before a breath test for intoxication is conducted, and the individual's behavior during this time must be included on film. Finally, all aspects of the breath test should be captured on video, including a warning about implied consent laws.

In the event that certain aspects of this particular legal requirements aren't met, arresting officers can create an affidavit suggesting why it was impossible for them to capture specific video footage.

If the letter of the law is not followed in this regard, then certain evidence presented to the court may not be considered valid. This, of course, could provide grounds for drunk driving charges to be reduced or dropped entirely.

The state's videotaping law is very specific, which is why the basic details of this post shouldn't be considered as a comprehensive document for legal advice. An experienced attorney could provide insight into this aspect of the law and how to proceed if any inconsistencies are documented.

Source: WestLaw, S.C. Code 1976 § 56-5-2953

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