Here is another story about yet another new DUI bill being considered to harshen SC DUI laws even further. As a SC DUI attorney, I see clients weekly who have been wrongfully charged with DUI after merely having a drink at dinner or a beer with a friend. They are perfectly fine to drive. No accident occurs. No one is injured. Yet, they are arrested and jailed overnight for having alcohol on their breath. Next, if they dare to exercise their 5th Amendment right to not incriminate themselves and refuse the breathalyzer, they are immediately suspended from driving. They also face the permanent stigma of being a “drunk driver” and could even lose their job given the current hysteria about DUI. Even if the criminal charges are ultimately defeated, the driving suspension still applies. If convicted, the price of a first time DUI without accident or injury approaches nearly $10,000. You have fines, ADSAP costs, SR-22 insurance for 3 years. The legislature just “killed the moped exception” which will only make it even more difficult for people to get to their jobs after a DUI. And now, there is a bill to add an “ignition interlock” device to cars and further increase the overall costs to families. Seriously, this constant drumbeat of punative DUI legislation needs to stop. We realize it is fashionable to be “hard on DUI” in political circles. While these well intentioned bills do little to lower DUI rates, the real effect is to place significant added expenses onto already struggling families. A little temperment will be much more effective. People who drive drunk and cause accidents and injury should be punished, and harshly. However, let’s not “throw the baby out with the bath water” and ruin those individuals who, at worst, make a questionable error in judgment while out with their spouses and/or friends.

At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP, our seasoned attorneys have over 70 years of combined trial experience in both civil and criminal courts.  We focus our criminal practice on DUI and DWI cases in both South Carolina and North Carolina and are available by mobile phone in the evenings, on weekends, and even holidays. Our lawyers are licensed in both states and are aggressive criminal trial attorneys.  We are not afraid to go to Court and often do. Don’t settle for a lawyer who only wants to reduce your DUI charges to reckless driving. We welcome the opportunity to sit down and personally discuss your case. Compare our attorneys’ credentials to any other firm. Then call us today at  803-548-4444 or 877-374-5999 for a private consultation. Or visit our firm’s website at www.rjrlaw.com.

Bill Would Require Ignition Interlocks for First Offense DUIs in SC

Ignition Interlock Device

Ignition Interlock Device

By: Robert Kittle | WSAV News 3
Published: February 01, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. –South Carolina already requires drivers guilty of a second drunken driving offense to put ignition interlock devices on their cars. A driver has to blow into the machine to start the car, but if the ignition interlock detects an illegal alcohol level, the car won’t start.Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Columbia, wrote that law. Now, he’s sponsoring a bill that would require ignition interlocks after a first offense DUI.”By the time they’ve committed their second offense, they’ve hurt somebody,” he says. “So what we want to do is if you get a DUI conviction in South Carolina, we’re going to make you put an ignition interlock on your car and we’re going to monitor it and make sure you do what you’re supposed to do.”A state Senate subcommittee heard testimony in support of the bill Wednesday, but senators did not take a vote. They’re planning further debate next week and possible amendments. One possible change would be to also require ignition interlocks for anyone who refuses to take a breathalyzer test after being stopped on suspicion of DUI. Sen. Lourie expects the bill to be on the full Senate floor by the end of the month.Jeff Moore, executive director of the South Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, says he thinks the bill would save lives.”There are only two ways to stop the repeat offender from repeating, and that is either to put them in jail for a lengthy period of time and simply take their ability to drive away from them, or you put a device like this on their vehicle after the first charge is made,” he says.According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 15 states require ignition interlocks after the first offense. (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Utah and Washington.) MADD says repeat DUIs are down an average of 67 percent in those states.And while Lourie says the bill would save lives, it also wouldn’t cost taxpayers any money. The offenders would have to pay to have the ignition interlocks installed on their vehicles.