Nearly one year since the SC Supreme Court ordered the backlog of pending DUI charges be reduced, courts around the state have made significant progress in moving cases. In the counties where our firm practices, we have seen an improved streamlined process implemented, and cases are being called to trial much more quickly now. While this is welcomed news,  the practical effect is that DUI lawyers must investigate their cases and be prepared to litigate in a shorter time frame. It is even more important than ever that persons arrested for DUI retain experienced lawyers immediately so that they can get to work to fight a DUI prosecution. Better make sure your DUI attorney has enough time to get ready for court to protect you and your family.

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.

The push to close thousands of South Carolina’s DUI cases
Thousands of drunk driving cases may be closing soon after a South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice issues a statewide order.

News 12 at 11 o’clock / Thursday, April 7, 2011

Reporter: Amanda Perez

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C.—Thousands of drunk driving cases may be closing soon after a South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice issues a statewide order. Some of these cases are more than 10 years old, but officials say it could begin to affect you now. Some South Carolina troopers say the backlog of DUI cases can keep them tied up with the courts and off the highways.

Now courts across the state are focusing on getting these cases to the judge as quickly as they can–especially those in the summary courts right now. Public Safety Director Mark Keel says, “unfortunately South Carolina has…for the past couple of years…always been number one or two in the nation for impaired driving fatalities.” He says these DUI cases need to be cleared in order to make highways safer. It’s going to result in us not having to ring those door bells at night and tell somebody that someone in their family has been killed because of a drunk driver.

Last year alone, South Carolina Highway Patrol made nearly 16-thousand DUI cases. Mark says the state was bumped to number three in terms of drunk driving fatalities. “We’re not satisfied with that…we want to be at the bottom of this list,” he says.

In Aiken County, there are around 250 DUI cases in the last four months that have been rescheduled or are still pending. He says the solution is to prosecute these cases quickly. “We need to reduce the backlog. If we don’t reduce that backlog, we are not going to get to the cases that they’re making today.” He says if these cases are not properly prosecuted, then it becomes everyone’s problem. The sooner the cases are dealt with, the quicker some of the troopers are back out on the highways looking to prevent more DUI fatalities.

As for some of the older cases, the trooper may no longer be working in the state anymore or there may be a lack of evidence. If there’s no trial, then there’s no conviction and that means it can be dismissed. Public Safety wants to prevent this from happening.

Due to the cuts in state funding, some jurisdictions lost their DUI prosecutors. Recently, Public Safety worked to get grant money to get it back. The Director of Public Safety says they’re hoping for change and he believes this court order is one step closer to bringing awareness.