When most people in South Carolina think about driving under the influence they think about drunk driving. Certainly, this is a huge danger to people every day yet it is not the only one they face. Drugged drivers also put innocent people at risk and may be charged with a DUI even if they have not consumed alcohol because drugs can impair a person to a point of rendering them unable to safely operate a vehicle.
When someone finds themselves in court over drunk driving, they may be unsure of how the charges will affect their future. There are many consequences associated with DUI charges and each person's situation is unique. For some people, such as those who have been charged with driving under the influence previously and teenagers who have not reached the legal drinking age, there are additional considerations. Underage drunk driving charges can be disastrous with regard to a young person's future and they can also bring a great deal of stress into a family.
If you are one of the many responsible citizens of South Carolina who has ever been questioned by law enforcement about potential drunk driving, you may well have been asked to submit to a breath test. The state does have what is called an implied consent law which means that anyone who accepts a driver's license in essence agrees to provide a breath sample when requested. However, this does not mean that every breath test is completely accurate or that a result over the 0.08 percent legal limit guarantees you will be convicted of driving under the influence.
People who live and work in South Carolina know that the state has some very tough laws in place regarding driving a motor vehicle after consuming alcohol. Most of the laws people are aware of pertain to individuals driving with standard licenses. When it comes to truckers and others with commercial driving licenses, there is an even greater level of oversight that everyone holding a CDL in South Carolina should be aware of.
The number .08 holds significance for many in Florence. That is the blood-alcohol concentration that is almost universally accepted as the standard for determining whether one is legally drunk. Like many of those that we here at the Parham Law Firm, LLC have worked with in the past, you probably assume that if that number is associated with your name, a DUI charge is forthcoming. South Carolina, however, is unique from several other states in the fact that the .08 BAC level is not exclusively associated with DUI.
Most in Florence may assume that roadside breathalyzer tests are actually the chemical breath tests referred to in the state's implied consent law (and thus may also believe that they are compelled to submit to them). Breathalyzer tests are actually preliminary alcohol screenings that are not as accurate as chemical testing (indeed, research data shared by the National Motorists Association shows that they have an error rate as large as 50 percent). Because of this wider margin for error, drivers are not required to take them. Yet understanding which breath tests are required by law may be secondary to an even larger question: How does one's breath offer a clue as to what is in their blood?
When a person in South Carolina is involved in a wreck or stopped by an officer for some other purpose, they may end up being questioned about any potential alcohol consumption. This line of questioning may lead to them being asked to participate in field sobriety tests and maybe even a blood or breath test to objectively measure their blood alcohol content.
Among the many things that people in South Carolina who get convicted of drunk driving offenses must be concerned with is their future ability to get a job. Even though it may only be a misdemeanor, a driving under the influence charge is a criminal offense that may show up on a background check. In today's world, background checks are standard parts of the hiring process for most employers.
People in South Carolina who are charged with drunk or drugged driving offenses have the same right to defend themselves as do people arrested for other criminal offenses. This can feel difficult at times, however, because reports of these arrests often include limited details that on their own make it difficult to even consider a defendant innocent for any reason. It can also make it hard for people to remember that defendants have rights that must be respected by law enforcement officers and the criminal justice system.
It may be all too easy for some people in South Carolina to assume that once they are charged with a drunk driving offense that they will be convicted of the charge. However, just as with any other form of ciminal offense, there exists the ability for a person to defend themselves. Part of this defense may include protecting one's rights as well as asserting that the charges were inaccurate.