As per the statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over four thousand people die due to drunk driving accidents in South Carolina. The statistics are for years between 2003 and 2012. The most vulnerable group are people between the ages of twenty-one and thirty-four. The numbers paint a picture so glum sending shivers down the spine of other road users. About 1.4% of the people in South Carolina report of driving or having driven under the influence.
Such a glaring and startling revelation is a warning to each one to exercise extreme caution while on the roads. Always be on the look out for any signal of intoxication among other drivers on the road. While you are driving, pay close attention to individuals driving at high speed, making erratic movements or swerving. On seeing such, it is of utmost importance that you call 911 for assistance and keep your distance. Such an action may save someone’s life.
In South Carolina, it is illegal to drive with 0.8% or above Blood Alcohol Concentration. There are lower limits for drivers under twenty-one and heavy commercial vehicle drivers. Sobriety checkpoints are the norm on the road in South Carolina these days. In cases where a driver causes an accident under the influence, the driver is liable under the theory of negligence per se. The driver is guilty of the injuries arising from the crash. The victim doesn’t necessarily have to prove negligence in courts as long as the driver failed the sobriety test.
What to do at a checkpoint
Getting arrested or stopped for drunk driving isn’t a pretty sight. You may be harassed or even manhandled by the police officer in some instances. When stopped by a police officer at a check point, it is prudent that you pull over and stop at a safe side of the road. Always comply with police officers instructions about getting out of the car and giving him your driving license. You are under no obligation to answer any other questions that aren’t related to the issue at hand. Nevertheless, total compliance is of great value in this case. It isn’t mandatory for you to comply with the tests.
The officer will ask you to perform a road side sobriety test and blew into a handheld breathalyzer machine known as the AlcoSensor. You need to do as requested, a charge sheet is filled and given to you. You can either be accused of drink driving or arrested for the same. In any eventuality, it is advisable you get in touch with an attorney or a public defender will be provided just in case. Getting in touch with a good defense attorney is essential in this case. The attorney will assist you to understand how the law applies to your case. He will advise on action to take, and in some cases, he may be able to negotiate a plea bargain for a lower charge of reckless driving.
Consequences of drunk driving
At DUIwise.com we provide you with facts about drunk driving including outcomes and other helpful information. South Carolina is one of the states with the toughest laws against DWI/DUI. The sentences to each offender vary from DWI Level one to five. The misdemeanor level one indicates a very dangerous offender while level five is a minor offender. Penalties for the offense can either be Administrative or Criminal penalties.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation imposes administrative penalties. Imposing administrative penalties to first-time offenders is the law in South Carolina. In this case, revocation of the driver’s license happens, and this can be a civil suspension at the time or arrest or a criminal suspension after conviction.
A driver who refuses to undergo a breath test at a checkpoint or has a BAC of 0.8% or higher may get an immediate thirty days license revocation. After a judge hears and determines the case, irrespective of the outcome, the driver gets a one-year suspension. Though, in this case, the driver may be given limited driving privileges after a mandatory six month period. On conviction, the driver’s licenses are revoked for one year with limited opportunities available after ten days. He is allowed to drive at certain hours for work purposes. Reinstating of the licenses is only possible when the offender undergoes drug and alcohol test plus treatment.
The courts impose criminal penalties to an offender. The penalties vary from level one to level five. They range from jail time, fines, substance abuse treatment or probation. Jail time varies but is always between 24 hours to 60 days for level five up to two years for a level one offender. Fines, on the other hand, range from $200 to $4,000 also from level five to level one respectively. A judge can grant Probation instead of jail time for offenders of level three to five. The probation may include limited jail time, or community service and participation in an alcohol and drug evaluation program. A judge isn’t allowed to grant probation to level two and one offenders under South Carolina laws.
The DUIwise site shows that driving under the influence will not only land you in jail but also lead to deaths and permanent injuries. These aren’t selective; they affect both the offender and the other road users.
Drunk driving is a dangerous phenomenon and requires the concerted efforts of all parties involved. Some of these strategies can help reduce or prevent DUI accidents: drunk driving laws, sobriety checkpoints, ignition interlocks, multi-component interventions, mass media campaigns, administrative license revocation or suspension laws, alcohol screening and brief interventions and school-based instructional programs. Each of these approaches will require different resources for implementation and have varying levels of impact.
In a nut shell dedicated efforts are leading to a reduction in the rates of drunk driving and alcohol-involved fatal crashes in recent years. Nevertheless, this isn’t the end of the road; this menace needs to come to an end. Though victims get compensated, money isn’t to the life of a person killed by a reckless, negligent and reckless behavior of one another.