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South Carolina teen facing felony DUI charges for 2012 accident

Numerous previous postings in this blog have discussed the severe impact that drinking and driving can have on the lives of all parties involved, even if getting behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol was simply an honest mistake. Most of those postings have discussed felony DUI charges resulting from the consumption of more alcohol than is legally allowed according to South Carolina law. In addition, many of these cases have involved individuals facing DUI charges later in life.

However, these two conditions are not consistent across all felony DUI cases. An accident that results from an individual being under the influence of any illegal or mind-altering substance that impacts their ability to drive can ultimately end in a felony DUI charge. The state's prosecutors also do not vary their expectations regarding penalties dependent upon the alleged drunk or otherwise influenced driver's age. A recent situation involving an 18-year-old in South Carolina resident underscores this point.

The 18-year-old has recently been charged with felony DUI for an accident that occurred in July of 2012. According to accident reports, the boy was driving his vehicle early in the morning on July 24, 2012 when he allegedly crossed the centerline and crashed head-on into another vehicle driven by a 40-year-old man. The 40-year-old became trapped in his car and ultimately died at the scene of the accident. The 18-year-old was hospitalized for 11 days for treatment of his injuries.

The teenage boy was initially charged with driving too fast for conditions. However, prosecutors had subpoenaed his medical records. That subpoena ultimately led to an upgrade of the boy's charges on August 15, 2013. Prosecutors are now charging the teen with felony DUI and reckless homicide.

Upon examining the boy's medical records they discovered that his BAC was 0.03 and that there were also signs of marijuana, methamphetamine and benzodiazepines in his blood.

Driving while intoxicated, no matter what the intoxicating substance, can be accompanied by serious penalties if it leads to an accident or other incident. However, accidents happen and often times individuals find themselves in this potentially scary situation. Therefore, it is always helpful to involve an experienced DUI defense attorney who can try to deliver the least punitive outcome possible for the defendant.

Source: WCNC, "SC teen charged with felony DUI for 2012 crash," Aug. 18, 2013

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