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Bill wants to restrict officers' discretions in DUI arrests

In South Carolina, even when a person is well under the legal driving limit, there have still been a number of cases where that person is arrested and charged with driving under the influence. To try and limit the number of people arrested and charged with drunk driving -- who are well under the legal limit -- a bill was pre-filed in the South Carolina House. This bill would make it so a person could not be charged with DUI if their blood alcohol content is below 0.05 percent.

The representative who pre-filed the bill said he did so in response to the number of people who are arrested for drunk driving even if they are way below the legal limit.

Take, for example, one South Carolina woman. She was pulled over and did not want to blow into a Breathalyzer. Rather, she went down to the hospital and her blood was taken. From that blood draw it was determined she had a blood alcohol content of 0.008 percent. However, even though she was ten times under the driving limit with basically no alcohol in her system, she was still jailed and charged with DUI.

If passed, this bill going through the South Carolina House would make it so a person could not be charged with a DUI if their blood alcohol content tests lower than 0.05 percent. This is also still lower than the legal driving limit of 0.08 percent. However, in some cases officers can claim impairment even though the person is within the legal limit.

The point of the bill is to try and limit the amount of discretion police officers have in terms of claiming a person who is under the legal limit is still too drunk to drive.

But what do you think? Do you want to see this bill passed? Is it OK to charge someone with DUI for having a blood alcohol limit under the legal limit? At what point is a person intoxicated and should not be driving?

Source: WBTW, "No DUI charges for SC drivers under .05 BAC under prefiled bill," Dec. 13, 2012

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