A DUI charge is one of the most serious driving offenses. State legislatures across the country are leaning toward tougher penalties as they consider legislation to curb drunk driving. Aside from what actually constitutes a DUI, many people often ask what leads an officer to make the traffic stop, and ultimately the arrest.
How do the police determine whether a driver is under the influence/intoxicated?
A police officer will typically use three methods to determine whether you are driving under the influence:
1.The officer will observe your driving, and in many cases a minor traffic violation or swerving or erratic driving is the cause for the traffic stop. There is also the situation where an officer responds to a wreck, where he obviously did not observe any driving. Many DUI arrests start as a routine traffics top, but upon the officer making contact with the driver, they shift to a DUI investigation.
2.Upon making contact with the driver, the officer will look for signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, eyes that are red and glassy in appearance, alcoholic beverages/open containers in the vehicle or legal (prescription medication) or illegal drugs, and an odor of alcohol emanating from the driver. If the officer suspects you impaired, he or she will ask you to get out of your car and perform a series of field sobriety tests to determine if you are impaired. If you fail these tests you will be placed under arrest and transported to the jail where you will be offered a breath test (the Data Master), and potentially a urine or blood test at a medical facility.
3.The Data Master test will be used to determine your blood (sometimes referred to as breath) alcohol concentration. If the test is .08 percent or higher you will be presumed to be impaired and therefore driving under the influence.
Do I have the right to refuse to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test?
You have the right to refuse to submit to any chemical tests, with the exception of a Felony DUI, where the State can take the sample without your consent. Refusal, however, will lead to an immediate suspension of your driver’s license, although there is a procedure to allow you to legally drive while the charge is pending, if you take action within 30 days of the arrest.
Do I have the right to refuse to perform field sobriety tests?
You always have the right to refuse to submit to any and all field sobriety tests.
Should I hire a DUI attorney to represent me if I am arrested?
Minimally, you should call a lawyer to discuss your basic rights, as well as to get a grasp on what a DUI in South Carolina means and the potential consequences of being charged, as well as being convicted. Be sure to properly research the background of the DUI attorney you speak with, because the DUI statute in South Carolina is very complex. Just because someone is a lawyer does not mean they have the experience or knowledge to properly handle a DUI case.
With the benefit of the former Spartanburg DUI prosecutor, the law firm of Anderson, Moore, Bailey, & Nowell has the necessary experience to effectively prepare your DUI Defense. Don’t hesitate to message us or call us and see how we can help at 1-888-234-2483 or 864-641-6435.
This blog is intended for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to serve as a substitute for talking to a lawyer. In fact, the first step you can take towards resolving your problem is to have a face to face conversation with one of our lawyers. Our consultations are free, they are confidential, and we can almost always schedule you an appointment the same day we receive a call.