Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is one of the most charged offenses in South Carolina. It does not matter if you are young or old, male or female, people from all walks of life have been charged with DUI. Since DUI affects so many people, and has such groups as MADD and SADD specifically organized to lobby for tougher laws against drunk driving, the South Carolina legislature is constantly changing the DUI laws. Therefore, it is important to consult an experienced DUI attorney when charged with DUI.
Most people in South Carolina do not realize that it is legal to drink alcohol and drive in South Carolina. It only becomes illegal when a person has consumed too much alcohol to operate a vehicle safely. It is a jury’s job to determine whether that person can operate a vehicle safely. There is no rigid formula for a jury to use to determine a person’s guilt.
However, there are inferences a jury is allowed to use. One inference is that a person who has a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is under the influence of alcohol and cannot operate a vehicle safely. That inference is rebuttable, however, and a jury can consider other evidence in deciding whether a person is guilty of DUI.
Oftentimes in a DUI case the arresting officer will ask or tell the person that he or she needs to perform certain field sobriety tests. These tests often include the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus eye test, one leg stand, and the heel to toe walking test. It is important to note that an officer cannot make any one perform a field sobriety test. A person has an absolute right to refuse field sobriety tests. However, if a person can do well on the field sobriety test, it can be powerful video evidence for the jury. It is unlikely that no matter how well a person does on the FST’s that the officer is going to let he or she drive home and not arrest that person.
Normally a person is taken to the county jail and asked to give a breath sample to measure their alcohol level. While in the breath test room, the person is on videotape the entire time. At this critical juncture, the officer is going to ask that the arrestee give a breath sample. Most often the officer is not going to let the person call and talk to an attorney before deciding whether to give a breath sample. There is no exact way to know how high a blood/alcohol reading will be for the arrestee.
The Datamaster machine has to convert the breath sample into a blood/alcohol reading using a number of set conversion ratios and temperatures. Thus, no one can say for sure what blood/alcohol reading you would get by drinking 4 beers. Consequently, the best choice may very well be to refuse the breath test. A person has an absolute right to refuse the breath test.
There are always numerous facts and legal issues to examine in a DUI case. Every person charged with DUI should consult an experienced DUI attorney. The three attorneys at Koon Cook & Walters, LLC who try DUI cases have a combined fifty four (54) years experience in DUI cases. Please contact us for a free initial consultation to see if you want the help of the veteran DUI defense attorneys at Koon Cook & Walters, LLC.