People all across South Carolina are likely familiar with sobriety checkpoints. These are commonly held by law enforcement agencies over key holiday periods throughout the year. These holidays may include Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve. The goal of these checkpoints may well appear to motorists to garner as many arrests for suspected drunk driving as possible.
A study drawing from 2017 data, which were the most recent available, shows that South Carolina ranks number two in the nation for drunk driving deaths, second only to Wyoming, and number one in the southeastern region with 6.22 deaths resulting from impaired driving per 100,000 people. The only other state in the Southeast ranked in the top five was Alabama. North Dakota and New Mexico occupied the third and fourth spots, respectively.
Residents in South Carolina know and understand that driving a vehicle while intoxicated is not only illegal but is also dangerous and irresponsible. There are clear laws in place designed to prevent such behaviors. This, however, does not mean that every person who enjoys a casual drink or two and then drives a vehicle is negligent, careless or a habitual drunk.
If you have been stopped by officers in South Carolina and eventually questioned for potentially being intoxicated while driving, you will know just how scary this experience can be. During the investigation, you might have been asked to perform certain tests that involved you standing on one leg or walking in a specific pattern per the officer's instructions. According to FieldSobrietyTests.org, the results of these tests can be used to support arresting you and charging you with a drunk driving offense.
South Carolina residents like you who hit the town to enjoy some drinks every now and then may feel as though you have a good grasp on when you become "too drunk to drive". You may be surprised to know that this isn't often the case.
Many people are under the misconception that it is legal to refuse a breathalyzer test if requested of them. While laws vary from state to state, in South Carolina, it is illegal to refuse a breath test. This is in large part thanks to South Carolina's "implied consent" laws, which you can review more in-depth in South Carolina Code of Laws.
If you have ever been pulled over by law enforcement officers alongside a South Carolina roadside on suspicion of drunk driving, you may have been asked to submit to a breath test. Law enforcement officers use these breath tests to analyze your blood alcohol level and determine whether you are driving under the influence of alcohol. Since officers cannot take a blood sample to test the level of alcohol in your system on the side of the road, the breath test serves as an alternative. However, the readings received from breath test devices may not be accurate.
If you have been arrested for and charged with a drunk driving offense in South Carolina, you may be wondering if you will have to install and use an ignition interlock device. This is an understandable concern as these devices can be very expensive and all costs are your responsibility under the law. This includes the costs to have the system installed and eventually removed as well as any leasing and calibration fees along the way.
If a person has been arrested for a suspected drunken driving offense in South Carolina, they will want to get educated about their defense options and any potential penalties they could face if they are eventually convicted of an impaired driving charge. One penalty that may be associated with a driving under the influence charge is the required use of an ignition interlock device.
Residents in South Carolina who are arrested for suspected drunk driving should know that there are many factors that may contribute to the future outcome of their cases. Certainly evidence that may be used against them could include breath, blood or urine tests results showing a blood alcohol content at the time of their arrest. They may also have been asked to participate in field sobriety tests and these results may contribute to the case outcome.