South Carolina, like other states, requires drivers to submit to a chemical test if the arresting officer believes the driver is operating a motorized vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drivers who refuse to submit to the chemical test of their blood, urine or breath will have their license immediately suspended through an Administrative License Suspension, a civil procedure which does not depend on the conviction of the driver and is separate from the criminal proceedings.
South Carolina Institutes videotaping of the DUI arrest
South Carolina, however, unlike other states, has instituted the practice of videotaping the DUI arrest and the breathalyzer test. For the state to successfully charge a driver with a DUI they must present a videotape of the DUI arrest, assuming the officer cannot prove that they were unable to videotape the arrest. DUI case dismissals are not unusual if the state does not have a videotape.
This process is mandated by state law and has created a high cost and burden for the court. Critics argue, however, that the outcome is indisputable proof of the DUI and creates a fair case for the defendant. The state also has the ability to convict drivers more easily with the clear video evidence.
To find the defendant guilty of DUI the state must convince the court that the driver was unable to safely operate their vehicle due to alcohol or drugs or that they were intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher. Video evidence has been a great tool to corroborate other pieces of evidence presented by the courts such as the blood alcohol concentration test, physical evidence and the officers testimony. Through the video evidence the prosecution has a better chance of convincing the court that the driver was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Penalties for South Carolina DUI
Penalties for a first DUI offense in South Carolina will depend on how high your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was at the time you were driving. Assuming your BAC was less than 0.10% you will face a six month license suspension, a $400 fine, forty-eight hours in jail or public service. Judges can use their discretion to determine if you will be sent to jail or you can substitute community service for your jail term. Additional requirements such as a drug and alcohol program may also be required.
Hiring a DUI lawyer in South Carolina
If you have been arrested for DUI you can expect the state to have a videotape of the DUI arrest and breath test. The videotape should start when the officer pulls you over and conclude after you have been arrested for DUI. The officer must read you your Miranda rights, the implied consent warning, checking your mouth, waiting 20 minutes and inform you that you will be videotaped. You also should be notified that you can refuse the test, with penalties. If the officer is not able to videotape the process they must complete a sworn affidavit stating why they were not able to do it.
Failure to follow the proper conduct as outlined by state statute can result in a DUI dismissal, but assuming all the procedures were done properly and they determine you were intoxicated through the BAC testing, they may have a strong case against you. Contact a DUI lawyer for more information.