The state of South Carolina’s sixteen county prosecutors are asking the state for an additional $1.6 million to pay for prosecutors to handle the state’s 28,000 DUI cases per year. Governor Nikki Haley has even included the money in her proposed budget submitted early last month.
However, State Representative Mike Pitts, who is chairman of the committee that oversees the law enforcement budgets of South Carolina has stated that he does not “know that we will have the money to honor it this particular year.”
The problem the state is confronted with now is that State Troopers may have to argue these cases. This is a problem because the troopers rely on prosecutors to argue motions and other documents that usually require legal training.
Two years ago, almost 50 percent of all driving deaths in South Carolina involved an alcohol impaired driver. That number has fallen by about 10 percent this year, but it is still one of the highest in the United States. This is related to the high rate of DUI prosecution in the state. This high rate of prosecution inevitably demands from the state budget. Because of such a high number of DUI’s, and the lack of budgetary funds, an inadequate number of attorneys will be prosecuting such cases. It will now rest on the state police officers.
The fact that many state troopers may have to argue motions that a lawyer would typically be arguing demands a certain level of efficiency within state government. With untrained professionals arguing something that trained professionals should argue, it leaves open channels for abuse of discretion. It is important that one who has been charged with a DUI has competent legal counsel.
If you or a loved one has been charged with a DUI in the state of South Carolina, call the law offices of Reeves, Aiken & Hightower, LLP. We are here to make sure an offender’s rights are taken into full account when a person is being prosecuted. You can reach our Baxter Village office in Fort Mill, South Carolina at 803-548-4444, or toll free at 877-374-5999.