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.
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.
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.
As we've covered before, South Carolina has an implied consent law on the books, much like other states. In short, this means that anyone who operates a motor vehicle within the state has implicitly agreed to submit to a breath test at the request of police officers. If a person is pulled over and a cop suspects that he or she has consumed alcohol, a subsequent breath test can be refused. However, this choice generally leads to an automatic administrative driver's license suspension.
We have discussed South Carolina's implied consent law on multiple occasions. The basic idea behind this law is that people who drive on South Carolina roads are essentially agreeing to comply with the demands of law enforcement to take a breath test for alcohol when pulled over. Failure to do so is considered a violation of state law and can result in license suspension.
The idea of what it means to refuse to take a breath test seems pretty clear cut. During a roadside stop, a person could either comply with the police officer's request or indicate that he or she doesn't want to take the test. Those seem like the two discrete options, right?
In South Carolina, as in all states across the country, the legal limit for an adult's blood alcohol content while operating a motorized vehicle is .08. When their BAC level is above the legal limit, the individual may face drunk driving charges.
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.
In South Carolina, and in every state across the country, it is illegal for anyone to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after consuming too much alcohol. The legal limit for a driver's BAC level in South Carolina is .08. If police pull over an individual on suspicion of drunk driving, and the driver tests at .08 or higher on a Breathalyzer, the driver will likely face DUI charges.