Category: Traffic Offenses

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 [..]

Read More

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 [..]

Read More

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 [..]

Read More

South Carolina Expungement Laws

The effects of even a minor conviction such as a DUI or simple possession of marijuana can follow a person for the rest of their life, like a scarlet letter or brand that every potential employer will see, and that every police officer will see during even the most minor traffic stops.  Once a person’s [..]

Read More

Traffic Tickets in South Carolina: Speeding

Speeding is a strict liability offense, which means no particular criminal intent is needed to convict a person of the offense. Examples of other strict liability offenses include: failure to yield, failure to use turn signals, turning into a wrong lane and driving a vehicle with burned out headlights or taillights. While no particular criminal [..]

Read More