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South Carolina Criminal Defense Law Blog

What are the laws governing drunk driving in South Carolina?

Those who are convicted of drunk driving in South Carolina face the threat of jail time, suspension of driving privileges, steep fines and having ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. A drunk driving conviction can also result in the need to complete drug safety and alcohol safety programs.

Due to the stiff penalties associated with a drunk driving offense -- and the fact that it is one of the most common criminal offenses that South Carolina residents are charged with -- it is important that every South Carolina driver familiarize him- or herself with the laws associated with this offense.

Defending against drugged driving charge in South Carolina

Individuals who are pulled over by police in South Carolina and charged with drugged driving face some pretty hefty consequences if they are convicted of the crime. That said, not everyone who is charged with a criminal violation is found guilty. Indeed, by employing various criminal defense techniques, individuals can try to better their situation in the eyes of the law. In some cases, they can even get their charges dropped, dismissed or obtain a verdict of not guilty.

In order to have a greater chance at achieving positive results in your criminal defense, you will want to have a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney on your side. Indeed, a criminal defense attorney will know where to look in order to identify and make use of any weaknesses in the persecution's version of the facts. Your defense attorney will also try to suppress any evidence that could be used to incriminate you.

DUI checkpoints and underage drinking in South Carolina

Police in South Carolina are increasingly using DUI checkpoints and roadside safety checks to find and identify drivers they suspect of drunk driving. Adults over the age of 21 and teenagers alike can get stopped and arrested at these checkpoints if police believe they are inebriated. While underage drinking and driving charges often come with the threat of stiffer punishment than over-21 drinking and driving charges, both of these kinds of arrests tend to happen in the same way.

DUI checkpoints are most prevalent around major holidays, when drinking and driving is more likely to occur at holiday parties. During these times, police will set up a roadblock at a major intersection and randomly stop oncoming vehicles. They might stop one out of 10 drivers, for example, and look for signs of inebriation.

Proof of drunkenness in a South Carolina DUI case

Drunk driving allegations are extremely serious, but just because you are accused of driving while inebriated does not mean that you are actually guilty of the crime. Indeed, in the state of South Carolina, no one will ever be found guilty of any crime until -- and only if -- that individual is proved to be so beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law. For this reason, it is important to know some of the most common factors that courts consider before they make a drunk driving conviction.

The most critical element in any drunk driving case involves the allegations that the defendant was inebriated. It is sometimes difficult for the prosecution to prove that an individual was actually drunk while driving a motor vehicle, but there are some common facts that will be used to prove inebriation. Police will use testimony relating to the unusual way that an individual might have been operating his or her vehicle. They will use testimony about the driver's physical appearance and conduct. They will use testimony about the way the driver completed field sobriety tests. They will also use photographs, film and tapes to back up the above testimony. Incriminating statements that the driver makes during his or her interactions with police may also be used.

Police say man verbally threatened them during DUI arrest

Police in Allentown, South Carolina, arrested a 26-year-old man last Sunday on drunk driving charges, but allegedly the traffic stop quickly escalated to verbal violence. The man was pulled over on suspicion of DUI in downtown Allentown at approximately 3:12 a.m. Allegedly, the man failed to stop at a red traffic signal and his motor vehicle lights were off.

When the arresting officer got closer to the man, he allegedly smelled like alcohol. Police say they also found two alcohol containers in the man's vehicle. Next, officers allege that the man became belligerent and would not submit to a field sobriety test.

Con artist calls about false speeding ticket to collect cash

Police in Fort Mill, South Carolina, say that a scammer has been targeting local residents. Authorities say that the scam involves a fraudulent caller who is contacting individuals on the telephone and claiming to be from the Fort Mill Police collecting a fine.

At least 13 victims were contacted by an unnamed male caller on a recent Tuesday and Wednesday. According to a major from the Fort Mill Police Department, the caller tells victims that the individual violated a traffic offense. The caller reportedly told victims that they had been speeding, they were caught on a traffic camera device or that they failed to stop at a stop sign.

Is South Carolina easy on DUI suspects?

Even though South Carolina is home to some of the stiffest DUI punishments, it is still rather difficult for prosecutors to convict individuals of the crime. Some are even saying it is next to impossible to prove that someone is guilty of the offense.

Among the obstacles to DUI conviction is a law that governs video footage of DUI arrests. The law says that video recordings of a DUI arrest must also contain any field sobriety tests. The law is being interpreted very literally, though, and it is resulting in video footage with minor flaws being completely thrown out of court.

Defending against drug charges in South Carolina

If police discover the presence of a controlled substance in an individual's car during a routine traffic stop, then the person could be arrested on drug related charges. Depending on the type and amount of drugs found by police, the drug charges could range from minor to serious.

Typically, when police discover a large amount of drugs, they will try to elevate the charges from simple possession to full-blown drug trafficking or drug distribution. Such elevated drug charges must be taken seriously because they could result in years behind bars if the person is convicted of the allegations. Drug charges related to simple possession of a small amount of drugs could also land a person behind bars, but it is more likely that the person will face lesser punishments like probation or community service.

Criminal charges involving underage drinking and driving

The legal age for drinking in every state is 21. However, just like in other states, many South Carolina teenagers and individuals under the age of 21 engage in the act of drinking alcohol. Parents do their best to prevent their children from drinking, but law enforcement officials know that parents cannot be in charge of their children 24 hours a day. Police are actively on patrol looking for underage individuals who are drinking -- particularly those who are drinking and driving.

Because it is illegal for people under 21 to drink, when they are also drinking and driving, more stringent laws and punishments will apply to them. For example, did you know that an under-21-year-old can be arrested and charged with DUI if his or her blood alcohol level tests at just 0.2 percent? This means that a young driver could get arrested after just a single beer.

The importance of hiring a defense attorney

For South Carolina residents who have been charged with a criminal violation, it will be important to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A qualified legal professional can inform of your rights in a way that is easy to understand. He or she can also tell you what you can expect during the different stages of the criminal process. More importantly, though, a lawyer can help you evaluate the best courses of action to take during the litigation of your case.

When you are shopping for an attorney, you will want to investigate your attorney's background. As such, it will be important to look at the attorney's past experience and knowledge on the topic of your charges and skill level.

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