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Refusing a breath test in South Carolina

Routine traffic stops can be troubling experiences for some drivers, particularly if they are nervous about failing a breath alcohol test. In South Carolina, a driver is considered too intoxicated to drive when their blood alcohol content is greater than .08 percent. Drivers have the right to refuse to take a breath alcohol test if a police officer asks to perform one; however, there are consequences to refusing a test.

According to South Carolina drunk driving laws, the state assumes that all licensed drivers consent to drug and alcohol testing, including breath tests, if an officer detains them on suspicion of DUI. The law requires that a license suspension of at least six months follow a refusal to take a test. The driver's refusal to take the test can be submitted as evidence of the driver's intoxication in court. When a driver refuses to submit to a test, an officer may choose to pursue a blood test. However, police must obtain a warrant before a blood sample can be taken.

Man facing DUI charges for fatal 5-vehicle crash

A man was accused of drunk driving and causing a fatal crash involving five cars on Sept. 6 in South Carolina. The incident happened around 7:45 p.m. at Sheep Farm Road and Wells Highway in Seneca. Police allege that a 52-year-old man drove through a red light before broadsiding one car and then hitting three other vehicles.

A man in the first vehicle that was struck died at the crash scene. A woman in that same vehicle was transported to Oconee Medical Center where she later died due to neck trauma. Five other people were also injured in the wreck. Officers charged the 52-year-old man with two felony counts of driving under the influence resulting in death.

Accident kills 1, injures 1, possibly caused by drunk driving

The South Carolina Highway Patrol charged a woman with two counts of felony DUI after a crash in Clarendon County on Aug. 30. The accident on SC 261 killed a 34-year-old man from Manning who suffered chest and neck injuries due to the wreck.

A 45-year-old woman, also from Manning, traveled east on the highway when her vehicle hit the rear of a vehicle headed the same direction, and the other vehicle hit a tree after going off the road. The driver of the other vehicle died, and his passenger went to a hospital after suffering serious injuries.

Deputy injured in South Carolina DUI accident

A deputy from Spartanburg County was injured in an Aug. 30 head-on car accident. The early morning crash occurred on Highway 221 when a 23-year-old Spartanburg man collided with the deputy's vehicle. The deputy reportedly suffered whiplash and a slight concussion as well as road rash due to the air bags in his vehicle. Reports do not mention where the man was evaluated for his injuries, but he is said to be recovering at his home.

The other driver is facing first-offense drunk driving charges. He was also charged with a tire violation and with violating a county ordinance. Reports do not indicate what the man's blood alcohol content level may have been nor what method was used to determine his level of impairment. The man was released on personal recognizance.

South Carolina police launch campaign to deter drunk drivers

According to reports, police in South Carolina have launched a campaign on Aug. 22 entitled Sober or Slammer, and it is expected to run through until Sept. 1. The campaign's goal is to raise awareness about the consequences of DUI in South Carolina in addition to trying to prevent impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol estimates that one person is killed each day on average by a drunk driver. During the first few days of the campaign, reports say that law enforcement in Horry County had detained approximately 46 individuals for DUI.

Man charged with felony DUI after fatal accident

A fatal crash in South Carolina resulted in a 20-year-old man being charged with felony DUI and minor in possession of alcohol. The two-car accident took place on Johns Island around 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 16 and resulted in the death of the other driver. The accused driver was reportedly still recovering from his injuries at the Medical University of South Carolina when he posted $100,475 bail three days after the incident.

The alleged DUI incident happened when the accused man was driving an SUV and collided head-on with another SUV being driven by a 17-year-old female. The teen was pronounced dead at the scene. A police incident report stated that before the crash, the accused driver had been witnessed passing other vehicles at excessive speeds. After drifting off the right side of the road, the driver apparently overcorrected and crossed the centerline.

Traffic stop results in charges of DUI and child endangerment

A South Carolina man is facing charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and child endangerment after being pulled over in Kershaw County on Aug. 4. The Lugoff resident was taken into custody, and the children were released to relatives.

The traffic stop occurred around U.S Route 1 and Lachicotte Road. According to a highway patrol representative, the 51-year-old man was stopped after a trooper suspected drunk driving. Three juveniles were also present, one identified as the man's own child. All three were turned over to their respective parents after the incident.

South Carolina court starts new DUI treatment program

Florence's 12th Judicial Court started a new DUI treatment program for repeat offenders on June 16. The court solicitor said this could make them productive members of society and no longer a public danger.

This rehabilitation plan includes a minimum of 13 months intensive care. Participants receive supervision, counseling and accountability. Then, they enter into a six-month aftercare program during which they will have access to resources to help them stay sober. Recovery clients can also attend AA meetings, random alcohol and drug testing, and weekly DUI/Drug Court assessment team appearances. The two people enrolled right now have multiple DUIs and a long drinking history. They said they are ready for a change, and the DUI court coordinator stated they appear to be serious about getting sober. Additional people are also being screened for entry.

South Carolina woman charged with DUI at police checkpoint

A 34-year-old woman who passed through a police checkpoint on JA Cochran Bypass in Chester during the early morning hours of July 25 reportedly did so with an open container of beer and children in her car. When police stopped the woman at the checkpoint, they noticed a strong smell of alcohol coming from her car and asked if there was an open container in the vehicle.

The woman reportedly admitted that there was an open container and handed an officer a 25-ounce can of Busch Ice. After giving the officer the can of beer, she was asked to perform field sobriety tests, and they said that her performance indicated that she was under the influence of alcohol. She was then taken into custody and transported to the Chester County Law Enforcement Center, and it was reported that she refused to give a breath sample while there.

4 cars damaged in South Carolina accident

A woman was charged with DUI after crashing a 2002 Lincoln at Socastee Auto Sales during the evening hours of July 24. The crash reportedly damaged four cars in the lot and caused the Lincoln to catch on fire. According to a reporter present at the scene of the accident, the back of one of the cars had been completely destroyed.

Police say that the owner of the vehicle was a passenger in the car at the time of the accident. Both the driver and the passenger reportedly left the scene of the crash and were walking down a road when they were found by troopers. The driver of the vehicle reportedly took a field sobriety test before being put into an ambulance and transported to an area hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries. The owner of the shop believed that excessive speed may have played a role in the incident. There was no word as to where the driver was taken for processing, if she was allowed to make bail or when her next court appearance may be.

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