Felony DUI Charge in Wrongful Death of Child

A Lexington, South Carolina man, who was accused of killing a 6-year-old girl in a drunken crash, has pleaded guilty to a felony DUI.  He has been sentenced to spend the next 10 years in prison and pay a $15,000 fine.  It is reported that the man was traveling just under 60 miles per hour when he ran through a red light, smashing into a minivan carrying six members of the little girls’ family. The speed limit in the zone was 35 mph, and there were no skid marks leading to the minivan. The man’s blood-alcohol level was nearly 0.21 percent, which is almost three times the legal limit. The man’s mother apologized to the girl’s family through sobs in the courtroom.  Following this statement, the mother of the little girl fell to her knees in front of the people in the courtroom reliving the evening. The crash also critically injured two other family members in the van. Based on this horrific case of a family being traumatized by a drunk driver, South Carolina is poised to pass a new, stricter law for first-time DUI offenders called “Emma’s law.”

Since the incident, the legislature in South Carolina has attempted to enact Emma’s law which targets first-time convicted DUI offenders and requires them to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle.  With the ignition interlock system, if the person blows a .02 or higher, the car will not start and hopefully, keep that driver off the road and keep the public safer. The defendant at issue here, who was convicted, has agreed to appear before the state legislature to push for Emma’s Law.  This law was recently been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary in 2013. Emma’s law is one of the harshest DUI laws that has been proposed in quite some time in the state of South Carolina. This new law, if passed, would require that even first-time DUI offenders have to blow into a special device called an “ignition interlock system” to start their vehicle.  This system is currently a device that is used for only repeat offenders driving under the influence.


Since this blog was originally posted, the so-called Emma’s law was passed unanimously and will go into effect October 1, 2014, Now, if convicted of a DUI in which the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is 0.15 or greater, that driver will be required to install an ignition interlock device in all vehicles that they have access. This hope is this new law will discourage new DUI arrests and/or dissuade convicted DUI drivers from driving while impaired again. Time will tell. Seemingly, the only real deterrent to DUI arrests is more enforcement through checkpoints and public awareness campaigns to phone suspected drunk drivers on the road.

Be Safe. Get Home.