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South Carolina lawmaker states his DUI charges are dismissed

A South Carolina lawmaker is now claiming that DUI charges filed against him last fall following a traffic stop have been dismissed. However, as of recently, his upcoming court date remains pending, as there may have been additional traffic violations filed against the legislator in connection with the traffic stop but that were unrelated to alcohol.

The lawmaker was pulled over as he was driving following a college football game. He allegedly performed and failed three field sobriety tests. While there is no report that law enforcement obtained a breath test or tried to measure his blood alcohol content, the lawmaker nonetheless was taken to the local county jail on suspicion of DUI.

In a recent statement, the lawmaker again apologized for his actions and for setting a bad example. However, he did not go so far as to admit to driving while intoxicated. While police maintained that he admitted drinking at the football game, the lawmaker explained that he was simply too tired to be on the road.

The lawmaker has a valid point in that field sobriety tests, absent other evidence, cannot determine whether someone has had too many drinks to drive safely. Motorists can perform poorly on field sobriety tests for any number of reasons, such as a medical condition or even because of their shoes. Sleepiness may also adversely impact a person's ability to pass a field sobriety test.

Therefore, while at times it is possible for prosecutors to charge a person with DUI without obtaining a certified blood or breath test, such cases are much more difficult for the state to prove.

Although the legislator had to serve a license suspension while his case was pending, the court reinstated his driving privileges two months ago. The lawmaker indicated he was looking forward to continuing his official duties.

Source: WISTV "Bakari Sellers says he's been cleared of DUI charges," Jeremy Turnage, April 5, 2013

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