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Tough new and current DUI laws for South Carolina

Despite tough DUI laws, a study by 24-7 Wall Street has named South Carolina as third in the nation for drunk driving deaths. In 2012 alone, almost 360 people were killed in drunk driving incidents. Although the state is third in deaths, it is ranked in 20th place for DUI arrests. Recently, Governor Nikki Haley signed into a law what is being called Emma's Law, which requires an ignition interlock be installed on the vehicles of those first and second time convicted with blood-alcohol contents of 0.15 or higher and 0.08 percent, respectively.

For South Carolinians, the ramifications of being convicted of DUI are harsh. In addition to the ignition interlock, driver's license restriction and a criminal record that can show up on criminal background checks for employment and housing will be a part of life for those who avoid jail time. Want to go to college? That scholarship you hoped to get for school could be lost if there is a DUI conviction on your record.

The expenses involved in life following a conviction can be in the thousands of dollars due to the SR-22 insurance that must be carried for three years after a first offense. This insurance ranges from $3,000 to $4,000 each year that it must be carried. Over the three years mandatory time period it adds up to $9,000 to $12,000 that must come out of the budget. Many people do not have an extra $9,000 or more to spare.

Those who face DUI charges have the legal right to fight them and to seek assistance with obtaining the best possible outcome. Because the law is designed with the concept of innocent until proven guilty in mind and fair trials are included in this concept, the rules must be followed by all. This means guilt cannot be assumed and rights cannot be denied to the accused. Failure by police to Mirandize or give an implied consent warning are among the things that can be considered when fighting for these rights to be recognized.

Source: Carolina Live, “SC ranks third highest in the nation for drunk driving deaths,” Marc Liverman, April 28, 2014

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