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DUI charges for high-level political staffer

One of the most devastating aspects of being charged with drunk driving is the immediate loss of privacy when the matter is reported in the media. Regardless of the fact that a great many DUI charges eventually get dropped, the damage has largely been done by the time the matter reaches that stage of the game. This is true regardless of the level of public recognition one holds, but when an individual holds a position within South Carolina politics, the damage can be far worse.

An example is found in the recent arrest of Mark Plowden, the chief of staff working under Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster. Plowden was stopped by police in Columbia, after an officer allegedly saw a vehicle traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of travel on Assembly Street. The traffic stop took place just after midnight on a recent Saturday.

Media reports state that Plowden was charged with DUI first offense. In addition, he was noted to have tested at a blood alcohol level of just .10 percent. The legal limit in South Carolina is .08. Plowden was able to secure release on a personal recognizance bond of just over $1,000.

As this case moves forward, a number of factors could lead to the DUI charges being dropped or reduced. Even if the matter goes before a South Carolina court, a conviction may not be the ultimate result. However, a great deal of damage will have been done by that point, and many in the state will not recall the outcome, only that Plowden was arrested and accused of drunk driving.

Source: thestate.com, "Mark Plowden, SC lieutenant governor's chief of staff, charged with DUI", Sarah Ellis, Jan. 31, 2015

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