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Bill adjusts standards South Carolina drunk driving arrests

In our last post, we discussed an important -- and unique -- aspect of drunk driving law in South Carolina. Statute states that law enforcement officers must capture video of arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol from start to finish.

Although the law is pretty specific in its standards, a recent report from WISTV News suggests that there is significant variability in practice. Unfortunately, this inconsistency can create difficult questions for defendants, especially if police officers aren't upholding the letter of the law.

South Carolina lawmakers appear poised to make critical changes to the procedures associated with DUI arrests within state borders. A bill being heard by legislators would fine tune the video requirement. Essentially the bill aims to standardize the requirements for video capturing and technology that is used. The current version of the bill would require audio to be a component of recording and ensure that law enforcement agencies throughout the state have adequate equipment.

It's important to note that the content of this bill increases the responsibilities of law enforcement agencies. In the event that the bill becomes law, police departments and individual officers will have to play a part in compliance. Just as is the case today, failure to meet legal requirements could still make video captured inadmissible in court even if the law changes.

The legal landscape is subject to change at any time. Many people may not fully understand how or if changes affect them -- particularly amid the stress of a drunk driving arrest. As such, having an informed legal advocate could help make the difference in a criminal case's outcome.

Source: WISTV News, "Proposed law would require standards for DUI arrest videos," PJ Randhawa, May 20, 2014

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