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South Carolina proposal for interlock devices for DUI offenders

Currently in South Carolina, if a person is convicted for a second time of driving under the influence -- after first following some mandates -- an ignition interlock device is install in their car. This device essentially makes it impossible for a driver to start their car if the breath test type of machine registers a certain blood alcohol content percentage on the driver's breath.

In the upcoming General Assembly in South Carolina, one state representative plans on introducing a bill that would mandate these ignition interlock devices as part of sentencing for first time DUI offenders. This representative's proposal falls right in line with the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation for all 50 states to adopt laws requiring ignition interlock devices for first time offenders.

Currently, 17 states in the country have some sort of ignition interlock device law for first time DUI offenders.

However, the American Beverage Institute hopes a similar law does not pass in South Carolina and said a first time DUI ignition interlock device mandate would punish those who would not drive intoxicated again. The claim is that an ignition interlock device would make it impossible for a person to have something as simply as one glass of wine with dinner and drive home.

The institute also points to the fact that when it comes to reducing the number of accidents caused by drunk drivers, the majority of drivers who cause these accidents are not the ones who have only had one or two glasses of wine. Rather, it's the drivers who are substantially over the legal limit.

Either way though -- future ignition interlock devices or not -- those reading this post should keep in mind that between now and New Year's Day police will be out on South Carolina roadways in full force looking for suspected drunk drivers.

Those who are accused of driving under the influence should also remember that they have legal options and should not just automatically plead guilty. Rather, contact an attorney with experience in DUI defense.

Source: The Post and Courier, "Alcohol breath test for car ignition proposed for first-offenders in South Carolina," Dec. 18, 2012

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