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South Carolina seeking stricter drunk driving penalties

Across the country, lawmakers and law enforcement officials are cracking down on drunk driving. The legal limit in South Carolina is 0.08 percent, and driving under the influence with a blood-alcohol content above that amount can result in an arrest and criminal charges. Legislators in the state are also considering amending the current law to make it more difficult for a person to get behind the wheel after a first DUI offense.

A proposed bill would remove the driver's license of some first-time DUI offenders, and they would need to use an interlock ignition machine in their car in order to get it back. The ignition device measures a person's blood-alcohol content, and it requires users to perform a breath test before the car will start. The device would be mandatory for anyone caught driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.12 or higher. Currently, South Carolina requires the use of the interlock ignition device only after a second DUI offense.

It can be easy to get behind the wheel of a car after you have been drinking, and you may feel you have complete control of the vehicle. In some cases, a driver is capable of driving and, due to poorly administered tests, is erroneously arrested and charged. Whether or not you were truly intoxicated, the increased scrutiny on laws in South Carolina and across the country is making it more difficult to avoid punishment for a DUI charge.

There is no benefit in pleading guilty to a DUI charge, and there are often times numerous ways to fight a conviction. Many can be thrown out based on the merit behind the traffic stop, the sobriety tests given and expert testimony regarding blood-alcohol readings.

If you have been arrested for drunk driving, it is important for you to protect yourself and your future. Whether it is your first DUI or you have multiple offenses in your history, fighting the charge may be the only way to possibly prevent or reduce jail time, fines and other punishment.

Source: WLTX, "How Are Lawmakers Cracking Down on DUI Offenders," Dakarai Turner, March 11, 2014

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