If you are pulled over and it is suspected that you are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you may be given a field sobriety test or subjected to several different types of testing to determine if you should be driving or not. It may start with a field sobriety test, and, if that is inconclusive, move on to a breath, urine or blood test. While law enforcement officers often use these tests to decide if you should be charged with DUI, there are times where the test may not provide the accurate results needed to prove a case against an individual.
You always have a right to refuse a breath test if you are pulled over for a DUI. However, some people throw this information around as if refusing will get you out of the whole thing without any penalty, and this is not the case. If you have been told never to take breath tests, there are a few things that you should know about exactly what this refusal is going to mean.
Many South Carolina readers were surprised to learn that the mayor of a South Carolina town was arrested last month and charged with drinking and driving. Although the arrest took place in late November, news reports did not surface until well into December. According to police records, McColl Mayor George Ray Grier was arrested and charged with driving under the influence after refusing to take a breath test.
Drunk driving is a serious matter in South Carolina, and it is something that is not taken lightly by local law enforcement. Those suspected of DUI are often subjected to a variety of tests which may include the standard field sobriety tests, breath and/or blood-alcohol tests. When reviewing breath test results, many may feel they are indisputable, but that is far from the truth.
Prior to Oct. 1, the cost of a DUI conviction took a toll on an individual's financial, personal and professional life. Now, those costs could go up. A new DUI law went into effect in South Carolina requiring certain people convicted of drunk driving to use an ignition interlock device. Some officials are concerned that this will mean that more people will refuse to take a breath test when they are suspected of driving under the influence.
When a person has been pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, it is imperative to that driver's rights that law enforcement ensure all evidence represents a fair and impartial investigation. There are many tools that South Carolina police may use to determine whether a driver may be impaired, including the various types of breath test machines. In a recent case, the results of one of these devices was questionable enough to be ruled inadmissible.
Here in South Carolina, many people have had to face DUI charges, and many more will in the future. Those who do may know how seriously the crime is considered, though they may not know about related aspects, such as how sobriety is determined. While field sobriety tests are often utilized, tests that measure blood alcohol content are frequently used to determine if a person is inebriated. The results of these blood alcohol tests may be used in criminal proceedings, so it can be beneficial to know what they are, how they work and what it might mean for a person’s case.
Popular imagery of drunk driving arrests generally involves roadside field sobriety testing and breath tests. Although sobriety tests may come standard in South Carolina traffic stops for drunk driving, the breath test portion will probably look a little different.
When a breath test shows that a driver has a blood-alcohol concentration higher than legally allowable, officers conducting a traffic stop will not hesitate to take action. From the perspective of law enforcement, having results from blood alcohol tests, from breath or blood draw, might make it seem as though a guilty verdict is inevitable.
In the immediate term, loss of a driver's license is probably is the consequence for drinking and driving that affects people most on a day-to-day basis. Certainly, having a mark on a criminal record is something that can follow a person for a lifetime, but being unable to legally drive for at least six months can have devastating consequences.