Charleston’s Proposed Texting and Driving Law

Posted by the Charleston DUI Attorneys at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC. Our Charleston, SC DUI lawyers help drivers charged with DUI in Charleston, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, Goose Creek, and the surrounding areas. If you are cited for DUI, our Charleston DUI lawyers will discuss your DUI arrest with you free of charge.

Tomorrow, Charleston will consider outlawing the reading of electronic devices while driving, which would include texting or typing e-mails. Talking on a cell phone, however, would still be legal. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley is behind the proposed traffic law, saying that Charleston city attorneys have been working on the ban for the past month.

So, if a Charleston Police officer sees what he thinks is you texting, typing an e-mail, reading an e-mail, sending a Tweet, etc., he would be able to initiate a traffic stop and give you a citation under the new law. But, what about dialing a phone number or thumbing through your contacts list to make a call? At first look, it seams pretty difficult to enforce, and some innocent drivers will likely get tickets. However, many states have already passed a similar ban, so hopefully there is wisdom to be gained in their experience.

What does this mean for DUI arrests? In a typical DUI investigation and arrest, an officer has pulled over a driver for a traffic violation other than that of DUI. The traffic violation creates probable cause for the stop. Once the traffic stop is made, the officer gains probable cause for a DUI arrest usually through his observations, questions asked to the driver, and field sobriety tests.

An observed violation of the texting and driving law would create probable cause for a traffic stop, just like speeding or crossing a lane line. It could be the starting point for a DUI investigation and subsequent DUI arrest.  However, texting and driving may be difficult to prove if used as the basis for probable cause for a traffic stop in a DUI arrest.  Cell phone and text records could become a major piece of evidence in those DUI cases.

Several Municipalities around South Carolina have similar bans in effect. Mount Pleasant will likely be next. Mount Pleasant's Town Council has approved a law similar to Charleston's proposed texting ban.

Nearly a dozen municipalities, including Beaufort, Columbia, Sumter and Clemson, have passed their own texting-while-driving bans.

DUI Lawyer Charleston SC

The Charleston DUI Defense Lawyers at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC help those arrested for DUI in Charleston, North CharlestonMt. PleasantSummervilleGoose Creek, Hanahan, Moncks Corner, James Island, West Ashley, Folly Beach, Sullivans Island, Isle of Palms, Awendaw, McClellanville and the surrounding areasContact our North Charleston DUI Defense Lawyers to discuss your case today.

Source: Charleston Post and Courier, Charleston City Council to Debate Texting While Driving Ban