When South Carolina residents obtain their driver's licenses, they agree to submit to a test of their breath, blood or urine when ordered to do so by a police officer. However, the implied consent law only goes into effect when the motorist has been placed under arrest. This means that police officers must have probable cause to believe that motorists are operating their vehicles under the influence of alcohol before they can demand that they submit to chemical tests.
Young drivers in South Carolina should be aware of the legal standards that are set in place for individuals who drive under the influence of alcohol when they are 21 years of age and younger. It is illegal for individuals 21 years of age and under to purchase and possess alcohol.
All South Carolina residents who are convicted of driving under the influence are required by state law to participate in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program, which is provided by the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services. The program provides educational and treatment services that are designed to improve road safety in South Carolina by helping DUI offenders to address their alcohol or drug problems.
South Carolina and other states have a variety of strategies that they can use to curb drunk driving. For instance, the law states that drivers cannot operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or higher. If a driver is under 21, he or she cannot operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of .02% or higher. The use of ignition interlock devices can make it harder for an individual to start a car after consuming alcohol.
If an individual is taken into custody for DUI in South Carolina or any other state, he or she may be put on trial. A trial is where the government attempts to prove that a person committed a crime while the defendant attempts to dispute the allegation. Typically, cases are heard and decided by a jury, so the first step in a criminal case is to choose the people who will serve as jurors.
South Carolina motorists who have been charged with drunk driving may face serious penalties. A conviction can lead to people losing their driver's licenses. Even a temporary suspension can mean that people may lose their jobs, and they may find themselves unable to keep up with school or family obligations. It is important to fully understand the laws in order for people to best protect themselves. When people are convicted of a first offense, they could be fined up to $992 and face a six-month suspension of their license. For later offenses, the penalties become even more severe.
Before a DUI case goes to trial in South Carolina or anywhere else, a pre-trial motion may be considered by a judge. The motion may ask that certain evidence be suppressed or cover any other concerns that an attorney may have. In some cases, a request will be made to drop the matter altogether. The prosecution in a DUI case can also make motions before a trial to limit the type of evidence that can be introduced at trial.
People in South Carolina may wonder when police have the right to pull people over if they suspect someone is driving while under the influence. In general, police can only stop drivers if they have some kind of reasonable suspicion of a crime. There are exceptions to this rule; while controversial, sobriety checkpoints have been upheld in most states as an exception to the rule so long as all drivers passing by a specific area are checked for drunk driving.