Posted by the Charleston, SC DUI Lawyers at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC. Our Charleston DUI Defense Lawyers help those charged with DUI and DUAC in Charleston, Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, Summerville, Hanahan, Goose Creek and across the South Carolina lowcountry.
A bill prefiled in the SC House would prohibit law enforcement officers from charging drivers with driving under the influence (DUI) if the driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) is below 0.05. The "legal limit" in South Carolina is 0.08. SC Representative Todd Rutherford filed the DUI bill. He is a lawyer who was prompted to file the bill after what happened to one of his clients charged with DUI.
"I had a young lady in Summerville who was taken down to the jail," he says. "She didn't want to blow (into a breath test machine) but she went down to the hospital to have blood taken. Her blood came back a .008, so absolutely no alcohol in her system and she was still taken to jail and charged with driving under the influence (DUI)."
He says police have too much discretion to charge people with DUI if there's any alcohol in their system at all, even far below the legal limit. "At some point, people need to be blowing into a Breathalyzer to establish their innocence or their guilt. And if you blow below a .05, which is basically zero alcohol in your system, you should be let go at that point," he says.
Rutherford says a person is not impaired at a blood alcohol level of 0.04 or below. However, those who oppose the prefiled DUI bill will likely point to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that "While there is partial evidence of impairment at 0.02% BAC, a major conclusion of this study is that by 0.04% BAC, all measures of impairment that are statistically significant are in the direction of degraded performance." Furthermore, South Carolina has one of the highest rates of alcohol and DUI related traffic deaths in the nation.
Rutherford's DUI bill will likely be met with opposition in the SC legislature. We will keep you updated on the bill's progress.