Can You be Charged with “Drugged Driving” in South Carolina?

The answer to this question is a resounding YES.  In South Carolina, a person is guilty of DUI if he or she drives a motor vehicle within the State under the influence of “any drug, combination of drugs, or combination of drugs and alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive were ‘materially and appreciably’ impaired.” S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2930(A) (West 2009)

In South Carolina, the implied consent laws apply.  Therefore, a person who drives a motor vehicle in the State is considered to have given consent to chemical tests of his breath, blood, or urine for the purpose of determining  the presence of alcohol or drugs or the combination of alcohol and drugs if arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was driving the motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of both. S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2950(A) (West 2009)

  • Further, the DMV in South Carolina MUST suspend the driver’s license, permit, or nonresident operating privilege of or deny the issuance of a license or permit to a person who drives a motor vehicle and refuses to submit to a blood test.  S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2951(A) (West 2009)
  • The accused has the right to have a qualified person of his own choosing conduct additional independent tests at his expense. The failure or inability of the person tested to obtain additional tests does not preclude the admission of evidence relating to the tests or samples obtained at the direction of the law enforcement officer. Id. §§ 56-5-2950(B)(3),(D).

Penalties

  • First offense – fine of $400 or imprisonment for a period of not less than 48 hours, nor more than 30 days; Or minimum of 48 hours of public service; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program.  § 56-5-2930(A)(1).
  • Second offense – fine of not less than $2,100, but not more than $5,100 and imprisonment for a period of not less than 5 days, but not more than 1 year; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program.  § 56-5-2930(A)(2).
  • Third offense fine of not less than $3,800, nor more than $6,300, imprisonment for a period not less than 60 days nor more than 3 years; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program.  § 56-5-2930(A)(3).
  • Fourth and subsequent offense – imprisonment for not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years; offender required to complete an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program.  § 56-5-2930(A)(4).

So, if you or a loved one has been arrested, and your arrest falls under the purview of any of these laws and penalties, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for a confidential consultation.

“Pain and Suffering” | SC Workers Compensation Attorney

SC Workers Compensation Law SC Workers Comp Attorney

In most personal injury cases, “pain and suffering” is the most valuable part of any recovery second only to medical treatment. Workers compensation cases, while personal injury, are different. The laws were set up to make certain injured workers are compensated, but fairly harsh restrictions are placed on what benefits are available? So how were workers compensation laws created?

Before workers compensation, employees hurt at work were left with the traditional personal injury negligence theories of liability. They had to prove that their employer was negligent and that they were injured as a result. In many cases, the employer did nothing wrong, and the accident and resulting injury was actually the fault of the injured worker. Consequently, there were many serious injury cases where no compensation would be available under the law. So the laws were changed by legislatures across the country to solve this problem. The system, while not perfect, was much better at protecting injured employees. The law, as developed, provides for certain elements of damages, including medical care (but the employer gets to choose where and which doctors), lost time benefits (paid at 2/3 a workers’ average weekly wage), and payment for any resulting permanent disability (based on a percentage of impairment to the specific body part affected). In truly serious cases, an injured worker can receive lifetime medical treatment and weekly benefits. The one item left out was “pain and suffering.” Why? Because this is the element that is purely subjective in nature and cannot be easily quantified, even by juries in regular civil cases. In serious accidents, “pain and suffering” is often described as excruciating and unbearable. How can you place a dollar value on such element. As a result, the legislatures took away fault from the employer and “pain and suffering” from the employee. As we said earlier, it is not a perfect system, but injured workers are assured that if hurt on the job, they will receive medical treatment and sufficient compensation to get them back on their feet and return to work.

SC workers compensation laws are complex and can be very confusing if your lawyer is new to this area of practice. Better make sure your lawyer is experienced in this complicated field and is willing to fight for you and your family. SC workers compensation attorney Robert J. Reeves has over 25 years of workers compensation experience. He is a former Registered Nurse (RN) and former workers compensation insurance defense lawyer. He would be honored to sit down with you and review your particular case. Each case is unique, and small facts can often make a big difference in outcome. Call today for a private, confidential consultation.

SC Motorcycle and Car Collide, Resulting in a Fatality and DUI Charges

A motorcyclist and car collided Saturday night in Columbia, killing the motorcyclist upon impact.Personal Injury Attorney

According to the police reports, the defendant was attempting to make a left hand turn onto Burdell Drive, when he intoxicatingly failed to yield to the oncoming motorcycle, and the motorcycle hit the right front passenger door of the defendant’s car.

The 26-year-old driver of the vehicle that hit the biker is now facing a slew of charges, including a “hit-and-run charge, driving under suspicion of a second offense, open container chargers, drug and possible distribution charges, failure to render aid and lastly, a Felony DUI.”

When a person causes serious injury or sadly death by vehicle in SC while driving under the influence, their charge is automatically elevated to a felony, as opposed to just a DUI. Moreover, when a person causes peril for another, and then fails to render aid or assistance to them, they can also be charged. This is the epitome of a hit-and-run, and another mechanism for punishing those who do so.

The Richland County EMT rushed the young man to Palmetto Health, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival due to the injuries suffered. The young victim’s parent were not aware of the accident until the body was discovered Sunday morning.

The defendant left the scene of the crime immediately after fatally wounded the victim; yet returned to the scene later, where an eye witness’s description allowed the police to identify and apprehend the defendant.

If you have been seriously injured by a drunk driver on your motorcycle or in your vehicle, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for information on your options.

What is Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?

According to S.C. SECTION 42‑5‑10, Workers’ Compensation states that it is up to the employer to secure payment of compensation to the extent of liability.reeves-sc-workers-comp-cover

Specifically, the statute states that “Every employer who accepts the compensation provisions of this Title shall secure the payment of compensation to his employees in the manner provided in this chapter.  While such security remains in force he or those conducting his business shall only be liable to any employee who elects to come under this Title for personal injury or death by accident to the extent and in the manner specified in this Title.” S.C.  SECTION 42‑5‑10

In other words, what Workers’ Compensation really is, is an insurance policy that your employer essentially takes out on you when they have a certain amount of employees in working for their company. The employers pay out to the Workers’ Compensation, in the event that a person is injured on the job.

Most states will assess the damages occurred to the employee who was injured while working within the scope of their employment. In the event that an employee is injured while working on the job, they will be entitled to recover for their personal injury, or the estate for a death of the employee, only to the extent of the injury.

This places no blame on the employer, and then business is only liable to the employee who utilizes the statutes for recovery.

If you have been injured while on the job, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for more information on compensation options.

How Home Insurance Helps During a Bodily Injury Lawsuit

If you were injured on someone else’s property and trying to decide whether to file a lawsuit, it is a good idea to know how the responsible party’s insurance policy can pay out for your injuries.Personal Injury Attorneys

A standard homeowner’s policy typically includes two types of liability coverage.

If you don’t file a lawsuit, the responsible party might file a MedPay claim with their home insurance carrier which provides limited repayment for injuries when a lawsuit is not presented. Most policies, however, place a maximum limit of $1,000 for this type of coverage. With medical costs rising this is often not enough to cover hospital and doctor’s bills, ambulance rides and other expenses related to your injury.

If you decide to file a lawsuit for your injuries, the responsible party’s home insurance policy might still come in handy. The other type of liability coverage included in a home insurance policy is called personal liability protection.

Personal liability protection will allow a policyholder to file a claim and receive financial assistance if he or she is being sued. The follow scenarios are examples of accidents that could qualify a homeowner for a claim: (1) Their dog bites you while you are walking past their home; (2) your child falls off a neighbor’s trampoline and fractures his ankle. (3) you are involved in an accident where another driver is at fault and their auto liability coverage is not enough to pay for your injuries

There are many reasons a person might choose to sue after such a mishap. Medical bills are costly, plus there are other associated expenses. The hurt party might miss weeks of work, or the injury could have negative long-term effects on the person’s health. These costs add up, and that is why many individuals seek legal action.

Standard home insurance policies typically include a minimum of $100,000 for a liability claim. Again, however, coverage can be increased to as much as $500,000. Criminal activity and other exclusions apply. The following circumstances probably won’t be eligible for home insurance coverage: (1) Transmission of a communicable disease. (2) Mental, physical or sexual abuse, (3) The selling, manufacturing or distribution of controlled substances.

So you know now how easily accidents can happen since you were the victim of one. So how can you protect yourself from the financial burden of a lawsuit? Of course, it’s always best to prepare for the worst-case scenario ahead of time. Consumers who feel that they’re at particular risk for a lawsuit can purchase umbrella coverage – which comes in increments of $1 million up to $5 million. These people might own a pool or live in a neighborhood with a lot of unsupervised children and worry that someone might get hurt on their property. Umbrella coverage kicks in once the limits of your personal liability have been met. It also applies to your automobile insurance once those liability limits have been met.

Whether you’re the plaintiff or the defendant, it’s good to know about financial options when facing a lawsuit. When in doubt about your insurance coverage, get in touch with a licensed agent. A professional can answer any question you may have and get you the coverage you need. You can discuss premiums, deductibles and other important aspects of a policy as well.

If you have been in a similar situation to the aforementioned, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP toll-free at 877-374-5999 for more information.