Blogs from May, 2013

If You Are Arrested for DUI in South Carolina...


There is no “one size fits all” answer to the question, “What should I do if I am arrested for Driving Under the Influence?” South Carolina law prohibits people from driving a motor vehicle when their faculties are materially and appreciably impaired due to the ingestion of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two.

Typically, when you are suspected of driving under the influence, the investigating officer will request you perform a series of “Field Sobriety Tests”. In my opinion, as a former police officer and attorney, I do not believe these tests accurately gauge your impairment. The tests actually demonstrate your ability to walk heel to toe in a straight line, balance on one foot for a period of time, and the officer’s ability to gauge involuntary jerking of the eyes (Horizontal Gauge Nystagmus).

Refusing to Take a Field Sobriety Test

If you “pass” these tests the officer could still arrest you based upon the odor of alcohol and the totality of the circumstances.

I generally recommend a person suspected of driving under the influence REFUSE to attempt the Field Sobriety Tests for the following reasons:

  1. They do not accurately judge impairment
  2. They are almost impossible to pass because of nerves, intimidation and confusion
  3. The results are up to the officer’s discretion
  4. You could provide evidence against yourself

If you refuse the Field Sobriety Tests you will probably be arrested. The Arresting Officer will offer a second test (breath or blood) at the police station or jail to determine your blood alcohol concentration. This alcohol test relies on machines and chemistry to quantify the blood alcohol content of an individual. The problem with providing a breath or blood sample is that each individual is affected differently by the consumption of alcohol.

Refusing a Breath or Blood Test

Once you provide a breath or blood sample the officer will try to use your machine quantified blood alcohol concentration alone to demonstrate that you were materially and appreciably impaired.

I generally recommend a person suspected of driving under the influence REFUSE to provide a breath or blood sample for the following reasons:

  1. Machines do not always work properly
  2. The test result is one size fits all but not all people react the same way to the same amount of alcohol concentration
  3. You provide evidence against yourself

Summary of What You Should Do if Stopped for a DUI

If you are stopped by a police officer and suspected of driving under the influence, I recommend you:

  1. Behave politely
  2. Say yes sir/no sir (or ma’am), do not argue
  3. Only answer their questions, do not engage in conversation
  4. CALL ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE at (843) 418-0750 – you sometimes cannot call a lawyer until after you are booked at the jail. (It can be helpful to have a DUI attorney saved into your phone contacts, just as a precaution.)
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