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SC man charged with felony DUI and reckless homicide

On July 14, 2013, a 28-year-old South Carolina man was charged with felony DUI and reckless homicide following an accident that left one of the passengers in a car he was driving dead. According to police, the arrested man lost control of his vehicle and struck a culvert, causing the vehicle to overturn. One passenger was ejected from the vehicle in the crash while another passenger was unharmed. The driver sustained minor injuries and was treated at a hospital close to the scene of the accident. He was taken into custody immediately upon his discharge from the hospital.

In South Carolina, reckless homicide is not always associated with the use of alcohol. According to SECTION 56-5-2910 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, recklessness is defined by any disregard of the safety of others, whether or not this disregard is associated with breaking a traffic law. The other condition for reckless homicide is that the driver's actions must result in a death and that this death must take place within three years of the accident. In contrast, felony DUI in South Carolina, as defined in Section 56-5-2945 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, applies to great bodily injury as well as to death, and can only be charged in instances where an individual is alleged to have operated a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.

To be convicted of reckless homicide, the prosecution must prove that a driver acted recklessly. In the absence of clear evidence that a traffic law has been violated, this may be difficult to prove. In instances where felony DUI has also been charged, however, a traffic law is alleged to have been broken since it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content that is over the state limit. An experienced DUI attorney can help South Carolina individuals charged with felony DUI and reckless homicide by preparing a strong DUI defense based on the evidence that other investigations may miss.

Sources: South Carolina Code of Laws, "Article 23: Reckless homicide; Reckless driving; Driving while under the influence of intoxication liquor, drugs or narcotics"

Source: Charleston Patch, "Man Charged in Fatal DUI Wreck", Adam Crisp, July 15, 2013

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