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A BAC test under 0.08 could still be used against a driver

The results of a BAC test are a remarkably common type of evidence in South Carolina DUI cases. One assumption that some people may have regarding BAC tests is that, as long as their BAC tests below the legal limit of 0.08 percent, they don't have to worry about the BAC test results being brought against them as evidence of having driven while drunk. However, here in South Carolina, such an assumption is quite simply incorrect.

A little background on what exactly the legal limit means in South Carolina law can help shed some light on this topic. Under state law, when a person drives with a BAC that is at or over the legal limit, it is inferred that they are under the influence. However, this does not mean that a person has to have had a BAC at or over the legal limit to be found to have driven while under the influence. Factors other than BAC can be considered when determining whether a driver engaged in DUI, such as forms of evidence touching on whether a driver's alcohol consumption caused an appreciable and material impairment of their driving faculties.

Thus, it is possible for a South Carolina driver to face drunk driving charges even if their BAC tests below 0.08 percent. Under state law, in these sorts of situations, as long evidence other than BAC test results is also being presented, the under-the-limit BAC test results can be used along with this other evidence to try to create an inference of the driver being under the influence if the BAC test results indicate that the driver's BAC was at least 0.05 percent.

Thus, there are instances when BAC test results showing a BAC under the legal limit could be used against a South Carolina driver who is facing DUI charges. Consequently, carefully reviewing the results of a BAC test to see if there are any things that could have compromised the accuracy of the results can be an important aspect of a DUI defense, even in instances when the test results indicated a BAC below 0.08 percent.

Source: SC Department of Public Safety - Sober or Slammer, "Sober or Slammer! - SC Laws Relative to Impaired Driving," Accessed March 9, 2015

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