Hot Weather and Drinking
Every summer, we notice a sharp increase in DUI arrests throughout South Carolina. While experts may ponder various reasons or scenarios for the increase, the seemingly obvious answer is it gets really hot here. Cold beer just tastes better in hot weather, and there are lots of opportunities to drink when the weather gets warmer. People enjoy going to the beach or lake for the day and getting out of the heat. Additionally, there are more social activities in the summer months, most of which will entail drinking and eating. In Charleston, you have to have beer during a low country boil. Anything less would just not be natural. In Columbia, our “famously hot” capital requires cold drinks just to survive. In Greenville, we have the downtown nightlife and bars and restaurants on the river to enjoy. And in Fort Mill / Rock Hill, we have great outdoor bars with patio areas. We are SC DUI defense attorneys, and like many of our clients, we enjoy summertime drinking activities. Just remember that the police will be out in force looking for those who drink and then get behind the wheel. If you are stopped or come up on a DUI checkpoint and have any scent of alcohol on your breath, you can expect to become the next dui arrest of the night. We are SC DUI attorneys and are here to help you if charged. But, we would rather show you how to avoid a dui arrest in the first place.
This is the best way to avoid a dui arrest after a night on the town or at the beach or lake. Simply have someone else, who has not been drinking, drive everyone home. Your safety and the safety of other drivers on the road is paramount. No one wants truly impaired drivers behind the wheel taking chances with their lives or ours. We are proponents of safe, responsible driving. Of course, most of our clients are persons who have a drink with dinner or a couple of beers with friends. They would never drive if they thought they were unsafe. They are good, hard working people with good jobs and careers. They know the risks and believe they are fine. Nevertheless, if stopped on the way home, they will be asked to perform field sobriety tests and then breath tested. Even if they “blow” below the 0.08% presumptive legal limit, they will still be arrested and spend the night in jail. The only real way to avoid a DUI arrest is to wait until you get home or not drink at all.
The York County Sheriff’s Office received a $250,701 grant to start a Driving Under the Influence Enforcement Team, officials announced Friday.
The grant money will pay the salaries of two deputies, along with new patrol cars and equipment, according to sheriff’s officials.
The DUI enforcement team will dedicate all of its time to combat drunk driving in York County. The officers on the team will work closely with other agencies in the 16th circuit law enforcement network participating in programs such as “Sober or Slammer” and “The 100 Deadly Days of Summer.” Team members will also spend time educating the public about impaired driving at public events and schools.
With police officers stepping up their enforcement techniques, it is becoming increasingly important for the average citizen charged with DUI to know their rights under the law. Any person under South Carolina law can be charged with a felony DUI, even if such incident is the first DUI offense charged to that person. Under the S.C. Code Ann. § 56-5-2945, “(A) A person who, while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or the combination of alcohol and drugs, drives a motor vehicle and when driving a motor vehicle does any act forbidden by law or neglects any duty imposed by law in the driving of the motor vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes great bodily injury or death to a person other than himself, is guilty of the offense of felony driving under the influence and, upon conviction, must be punished.”
The penalties for pleading guilty or being convicted under the felony DUI statute are characterized “(1) by a mandatory fine of not less than five thousand one hundred dollars nor more than ten thousand one hundred dollars and mandatory imprisonment for not less than thirty days nor more than fifteen years when great bodily injury results;(2) by a mandatory fine of not less than ten thousand one hundred dollars nor more than twenty-five thousand one hundred dollars and mandatory imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than twenty-five years when death results. A part of the mandatory sentences required to be imposed by this section must not be suspended, and probation must not be granted for any portion.” Based on the final sentence quoted above in the statute, probation is not even an option for any person convicted or pleading guilty to charges under the felony DUI statute in South Carolina, even persons who are first time offenders of the statute. According to the S.C. Code Ann. §56-5-2945(B), great bodily injury as used in the statute includes “protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” Thus, since the common protracted is commonly thought to mean to prolong or draw out an event or incident, loss of life or limb is not a necessary prerequisite for a finding of guilty under the statute. The victim may fully recover from the injuries suffered at the hands of the defendant, but as long as the victim has an injury that will most likely cause him impairment of one of his bodily parts or organs, a defendant can be convicted under this felony DUI statute and would face some type of mandatory incarceration sentence.
Thus, the role of a lawyer becomes most important to those charged under the South Carolina felony DUI statute. Whatever the case may be, and whatever type of “DUI” you have been charged with, contact the law offices of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower to have your claim evaluated. We are licesnsed in both North and South Carolina, where you can contact us at 704-499-9000 or 877-374-5999 toll-free.
As South Carolina experiences an increase in DUI and BUI enforcement, many people in lowcountry areas such as Charleston, North Charleston, James Island, Folly Beach, West Ashley, Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, Mount Pleasant, and Awendaw are unaware of the differences associated with driving under the influence and boating under the influence. While both charges are serious offenses, there are distinct differences in the procedures effecting the enforcement.
On land, law enforcement generally relies upon the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) to establish probable cause for a DUI arrest. The SFST was developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and includes three tests: 1) Horizontal gaze nystagmus 2) walk-and-turn and 3) One-leg stand. There is an ongoing debate about the effectiveness and scientific nature of these tests, but for the time being they relied upon by law enforcement to continue the prosecution of alleged DUI offenders. Also, South Carolina law mandates that the officer videotape the suspect with his/her in-dash camera while conducting these tests.
Boating Under the Influence (BUI) differs in multiple ways from a DUI. For the most part, the Department of Natural Resources is tasked with the responsibility to enforce the BUI laws. Similarly to the NHTSA, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators has developed its own method for testing boater’s sobriety. As you can imagine, it would not make much sense to administer the walk-and-turn test or the one-leg stand while on an unstable boat so the NASBLA test differs from the Standardized Field Sobriety Test. DNR uses the “Afloat Test Battery” to determine the sobriety of a boater. This test includes reciting the ABC’s, counting backwards from 25 to 1, a finger dexterity test, a palm pat test, and a touch finger to nose test. It is also an important distinction to realize that BUI laws do not require the arresting officer to videotape the suspect.
As the waterways, rivers, and lakes heat up it is important to understand the boating laws and the seriousness of both DUI/BUI offenses. In areas in and around the South Carolina lowcountry such as Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, James Island, Charleston, West Ashley, North Charleston, Moncks Corner, Mount Pleasant, and Awendaw, boaters will notice an increased DNR presence looking for drunk boaters. The DUI/BUI attorneys at Reeves Aiken & Hightower LLP stand ready to help you if you have been arrested and charged for DUI, BUI or DUAC. Before hiring an attorney, you should carefully check out their credentials and actual experience. For more information about our lawyers, please visit our website at www.rjrlaw.com. Or to schedule a confidential consultation about your particular case, please call us directly at 877-374-5999.
A Lexington County Sheriff, aiming to make S.C. roads safer, is asking bar owners to take on some responsibility for their intoxicated customers.
The sheriff is encouraging bar owners in three trouble spots in the county to limit the alcohol of drunken customers and arrange for safe transportation to take them home.Lexington County is currently leading the state in traffic fatalities, with a shocking 40 deaths so far this year.
Along with this initiative, deputies plan to increase patrols at trouble spots at S.C. 6 in the Red Bank area and parts of U.S. 1 and U.S. 378 along the South shore of Lake Murray.
South Carolina DUI Attorneys
If you or someone you love has been charged with a SC DUI, DUAC, or BUI, you should call the experienced DUI attorneys of Reeves, Aiken, and Hightower, LLP . In South Carolina, if a defendant blood alcohol content (BAC) is a .08 or above, then the State can legally charge you with “driving under the influence.” Call us today and speak directly with one of our lawyers at 704-499-9000 or 877-374-5999 toll free. We have offices in Charlotte and throughout South Carolina. We would be honored to have an opportunity to help you and your family get through this most difficult time in your lives. Consult our criminal defense team and then hire the best DUI attorneys you have the most confidence in!
A 19-year-old SC teen reacted quickly Saturday morning, when he approached a burning vehicle and proceeded to pull a 54-year-old woman out of fiery car.
The teen was driving home from a friend’s house along U.S. 301, near Raccoon Road, when he spotted the burning 1999 Chevrolet that had wrecked just minutes before. Apparently, the woman driver ran off the right side of the road only moments before it caught aflame. Once stopped, the teen could hear a woman’s voice coming from inside the wrecked vehicle. The teen and another man, wielding crowbars, broke out the driver’s side window. The woman was able to unfasten her seatbelt so that she could be pulled out of her car to safety.
As they were all backing away from the burning car, an explosion occurred, fully engulfing the car with flames. Firefighters arrived shortly thereafter to put out the fire. Claredon Fire Chief commented that there was not much firefighters could have done for the woman if it had not been for the civilian rescue.
The woman was subsequently transported to Claredon Memorial Hospital for injuries. It is reported that she will be charged with DUI .
South Carolina Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys
Please call the experienced Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys at Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP., to help you attain the justice you deserve. Our seasoned litigators have over 75 years combined trial experience. Our team of personal injury attorneys include former insurance defense lawyers, a former Registered Nurse (RN), and former criminal prosecutor. Call us today and speak directly with one of our lawyers at 704-499-9000 or 877-374-5999 toll-free. We would be honored to have an opportunity to help you and your family get through this most difficult time in your lives.