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Will new law cause more people refuse to take a breath test?

Prior to Oct. 1, the cost of a DUI conviction took a toll on an individual's financial, personal and professional life. Now, those costs could go up.  A new DUI law went into effect in South Carolina requiring certain people convicted of drunk driving to use an ignition interlock device.  Some officials are concerned that this will mean that more people will refuse to take a breath test when they are suspected of driving under the influence. 

Anyone convicted of drunk driving who had a blood alcohol level of .15 percent or above is now required to use an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for six months.  Repeat offenders are now required to use the device for two years.  The device prevents a vehicle from starting if the machine registers that the person consumed alcohol, and a photograph is taken each time the machine is used to ensure that someone else is not blowing into the device for the driver.

The cost of the device is also passed on to a convicted person as well.  Any South Carolina resident ordered to use the device must pay two one-time fees, including a $30 installation fee and a $100 fee to obtain a license identifying that the driver must use the device.  Each month, a fee of more than $100 is required as well.

The prediction that more drivers will refuse to take a breath test now that this new law is in effect may turn out to be accurate -- only time will tell.  Some drivers may be willing to accept the penalty for the refusal in order to avoid having to use -- and pay for -- the ignition interlock device.  Either way, anyone pulled over and arrested on suspicion of DUI could benefit from a thorough review of his or her situation in order to prepare the best defense to any charges that may be filed against them. 

Source: carolinalie.com, "How Emma's Law locking devices will fight DUI", April Baker, Oct. 1, 2014

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