Category: DUI

No Right to Counsel in South Carolina Summary Courts

Of course there is a right to counsel, at least when a person is sentenced to jail time, but it is systematically denied to defendants in our state’s summary courts. Indigent defendants in S.C.’s summary courts typically are not provided with court-appointed counsel, even in serious cases such as DUI or domestic violence (CDV).  In [..]

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DUI – Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s)

In South Carolina and all states, there are only three standardized field sobriety tests (SFST’s) that have been approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for use in DUI detection: the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) test, the One Leg Stand test, and the Walk and Turn test.  Once an officer makes an initial [..]

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DUI – Vertical Gaze Nystagmus

During a typical DUI related traffic stop, the officer will perform what is called Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s) on the driver.  The only three tests that have been approved (standardized) by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk and Turn, and One-Leg Stand.  NHTSA conducted extensive research [..]

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State v. Walters – DUI – HGN Test Does Not Have to Show Suspect’s Eyes

In State v. Walters, the South Carolina Court of Appeals reversed the York County Circuit Court’s dismissal of a DUI second offense based on the videotape statute.  Like I said a few weeks ago, South Carolina’s DUI statutes are working as intended and there is no unreasonable “DUI camera loophole.”  The videotape requirements ensure that [..]

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DUI Camera Loophole?

Every year in South Carolina, there is a push by prosecutors, police, MADD, and the media to “fix” the “loopholes” in South Carolina’s DUI laws.  There is no loophole.  “Loophole” or “technicality” is the rhetoric used by police, prosecutors, and victims advocates when describing constitutional rights or any rights granted to people accused of crimes.  [..]

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State v. Rearick – Felony DUI

In State v. Rearick, decided August 17, 2016, the S.C. Supreme Court demonstrated how appellate courts help trial courts help incompetent prosecutors obtain convictions.  Rearick was charged with felony DUI (driving under the influence) resulting in death.  When it became obvious that the state’s case was falling apart, the trial judge declared a mistrial.  Rearick [..]

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Criminal Defense News Round-Up

Horry County has a new police chief – Joe Hill will begin work as chief of Horry County Police department next month.  Horry County paid more than $61,000 into the state retirement system so that the former police chief could retire with full benefits following a scandal that included allegations that a former detective had [..]

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Birchfield v. North Dakota – DUI – Criminal Penalties for Refusing a Blood Draw are Unconstitutional

In Birchfield v. North Dakota, decided on June 23, 2016, the United States Supreme Court consolidated three driving under the influence (DUI) cases from North Dakota and Minnesota.  On the facts of each case, the Court held that: 1) states cannot make it a criminal offense for a DUI suspect to refuse consent for a [..]

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