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SLED Breathalyzer database back online; information not lost

Some residents of South Carolina may have heard about the July 5 lightning strike that took down the state's Law Enforcement Division's servers holding important information about drunk driving arrests. These computers hold video of certified breath test being given to suspects, as well as South Carolina's Breathalyzer records showing test results.

Although at first glance this may seem neither like earth-shattering news nor of much relevance to those facing DUI charges, it was actually the exact opposite. The system's being offline because of the lightning caused almost a one-month delay in hearings involving DUI offenses. These delays frustrated numerous attorneys throughout the state.

In addition to delays, there were some thoughts that the information on the SLED servers would be lost. If that would have been the case, some pending DUI cases may have been thrown out. This is because, under South Carolina's drunk driving laws, when a driver is suspected of operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, his or her breath test must be recorded on video. However, now that the server is running again, authorities are saying that no information was lost during the down time.

Situations like this can be very confusing and can leave a person that is being charged with a crime even scared and confused even for a person charged with a crime. This is why it is helpful for a person to have an aggressive defense on his or her side. An attorney should know exactly how to handle unexpected situations such as this one. They can therefore provide guidance for the defendant while also partnering with the necessary parties to determine what action, if any, needs to be taken.

While it may or may not be good news to those facing DUI charges that the servers are back up and running, at least they now know what to expect going forward and do not feel like they are left in limbo waiting to say whether the breakdown affected their cases.

Source: Charleston City Paper, "SLED Breathalyzer data servers back online after lightning strike," Paul Bowers, Aug. 8, 2013

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