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South Carolina law creates stiffer DUI penalties

As Emma's Law went into effect on Oct. 1, the penalties for driving while intoxicated became more stringent in the state. The law is named for a girl who died on Jan. 1, 2012, in a DUI accident. One of the important aspects of the legislation is the fact that it draws attention to and raises awareness of the consequences of intoxicated driving. Additionally, the law establishes tools that the authorities can use to address the actions of those who choose to drive while they are drunk.

Emma's Law imposes the use of interlock devices on vehicles used by those who have been tested at high levels of intoxication. If a breath test produces a reading of .15 percent BAC or greater, a first-time offender will be required to use an interlock system to start their vehicle for six months. Repeat offenses will result in two years of required use of an interlock system.

Representatives of Mothers Against Drunk Driving indicate that the organization would like to see even stiffer requirements so that interlock systems are required of all offenders. The organization estimates that by the time an individual receives a first DUI conviction, that person may have driven while intoxicated at least 80 times. Because the legislation pertains to BAC determined by breath testing, a defendant in such a situation may be concerned about the validity of such tests.

An attorney assisting in this type of case may assess the type of testing equipment used and may want to have the actual equipment inspected to verify that results produced are accurate. Inaccurate results may lead to the court's dismissal of the results as usable evidence of intoxication.

Source: WLOS, "Emma's Law Stiffens DUI Punishments", October 01, 2014

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