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South Carolina officer pulls drunk motorist from lake

A Sumter police officer reportedly rescued a motorist from a lake after the man's car had gone off the road and into the water. The officer says that he originally stopped because he saw two cars parked on a bridge with their hazard lights on. When he got out of his car, he realized that there was a third car in the water with the motorist trapped inside.

Sources say that the officer was able to pry open one of the doors and pull the 37-year-old driver through the door. Once on shore, the driver was sent to the hospital where he reportedly refused treatment. The man was then taken into police custody and charged with driving under the influence.

The man's blood-alcohol content at the time of the incident was not reported, and there was no mention of how the officer determined that the driver was intoxicated. Reports did not indicate whether the man had any previous convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If there are inconsistencies in police reports regarding these issues, an attorney might bring them up during trial to dispute the validity of the charge.

Even for a first offense, the potential consequences for a DUI conviction include jail time, a large fine and license revocation. It is important to keep in mind that drivers could be charged with a felony DUI as opposed to a misdemeanor DUI if their blood-alcohol content at the time of arrest is high enough or if the driver has had previous DUI convictions. For those facing charges related to driving under the influence, a DUI defense attorney may be able to help negotiate for a reduced penalty.

Source: WCNC, "SC officer pulls DUI suspect from underwater car", January 05, 2014

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