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Columbia Police Department analyst refuses to take a breath test

There are serious consequences for South Carolina drivers who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. If a driver is suspected of driving while intoxicated, the authorities may employ a breath test to determine the blood alcohol level of the accused. Consenting to these tests is not mandatory -- as one such instance shows -- but those who refuse to take a breath test can face another set of legal issues.

A South Carolina woman was arrested shortly after Christmas near a driver's license checkpoint. Troopers allegedly smelled alcohol coming from the woman's vehicle after they claim she almost caused a collision. They then subjected her to a field sobriety test, which she purportedly failed.

While the woman was being questioned in an officer's vehicle, she requested that two members of the Columbia Police Department be made aware of her arrest and asked for their presence. After the woman was transported to a jail, she refused to take a breath test. The woman, who was charged with DUI, was actually an analyst for the Columbia Police Department.

In South Carolina, if an individual is arrested with probable cause of driving under the influence, there is implied consent to take a blood or breath test to determine the blood alcohol level. Refusal of the test, however, is permitted, but can be used as evidence against the individual in any court proceedings and the driver's license will be suspended for at least six months automatically.

While there can be serious repercussions with a DUI conviction, those accused of drunk driving can take steps to defend themselves against the charges. An experienced attorney may be able to show inconsistencies in the tests administered, rights violations during the initial arrest or more.

Source: wistv.com, "Columbia police intelligence analyst charged with DUI, requests chief show up at jail," Jan. 21, 2014

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