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South Carolina lt. governor's chief of staff charged with DUI

The chief of staff for South Carolina's lieutenant governor was arrested and charged with DUI on Jan. 31. Columbia Police said they pulled over the staffer around 12:41 a.m.

Court documents published online said police observed Plowden driving south in the northbound lane of Assembly Street near Gervais Street. Officers stopped him on the 900 block of Assembly. He reportedly refused to take a breathalyzer test or submit to field sobriety tests. In South Carolina, refusal to take a breath test results in the automatic suspension of an individual's driver's license.

The staffer, age 38, has been charged with first-offense DUI with less than a .10 percent blood alcohol content level. He was released on a $1,022 personal recognizance bond. The lieutenant governor said his chief of staff, whom he has known for 18 years, will retain his position. According to the lieutenant governor, the staffer has apologized for the incident. He previously worked as the spokesperson for the Department of Health and Environmental Safety.

Anyone facing drunk driving charges may benefit by retaining a criminal defense attorney to fight the allegations in court. In a first-offense case similar to this one, it may be possible to have the charges reduced or completely dropped. An attorney could question the validity of the tests used to determine a defendant was impaired, which could mitigate the charges. Another defense strategy could be to negotiate with prosecutors to drop the charges in exchange for the defendant voluntarily participating in an alcohol rehabilitation program.

Source: wltx.com, "McMaster's Chief of Staff to Keep Job After DUI Charge," Feb. 3, 2015

Source: wltx.com, "Lt. Governor's Chief of Staff Arrested for DUI," Scott Cooke, Jan. 31, 2015

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