Does The South Carolina DUI Law Apply To Drugs?
Yes. Even though most people think that the South Carolina DUI laws are only about alcohol, the law really applies to drugs, too. The law says that it’s illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any combination of the two, if the drugs or alcohol have a material impact on your ability to drive.
What Generally Happens When Someone Has Been Pulled Over And A Police Officer Suspects A Driver Is Under The Influence Of A Substance Other Than Alcohol?
Generally, the case begins just like an alcohol-related DUI. The police officer will ask the person to step out of the vehicle. He will then ask the person if he is willing to perform some field sobriety tests to determine if they are OK to continue driving. Remember, in SC, field sobriety tests can legally be refused without any negative repercussions for the driver. n other words, this cannot be considered a failure to obey police commands.
How And When Do The Police Test For The Presence Of A Drug In The Person’s System?
If someone is placed under arrest for DUI and they blow below 0.08%, then the officer can request that they provide a urine or blood sample to measure the level of drugs in their system. Breathalyzers will not detect the levels of any drugs in a person’s system, so that is why a urine or blood sample is requested.
What Is A Drug Recognition Expert (DRE)?
In South Carolina, some police officers attempt to give their “expert” opinion as to whether someone is under the influence of drugs. These so-called Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) often give their testimony on whether a driver is under the influence of a one of seven categories of narcotics (central nervous system depressants, inhalants, dissociative anesthetics, cannabis, central nervous system stimulants, hallucinogens, or narcotic analgesics). The “science” behind this is heavily debated, criticized, and controversial. An experienced DUI defense attorney can often successfully keep this “pseudo-science” from coming into court.
Can A Person Refuse To Take A Drug Test? If They Refuse, What Are The Consequences?
In SC, a person charged with DUI can refuse to take a urine or blood test. However, there are consequences if they do. The person’s license to drive will be suspended if they do so, under the SC Implied Consent Laws. However, you may be eligible to then obtain a temporary alcohol license to drive legally while the case is pending.
Should You Ever Admit To A Police Officer At The Scene That You Are Prescribed A Certain Medication Or You Took Any Sort Of Drug, Even If It Was Prescription?
In general, the best thing to do if you are pulled over and under investigation for DUI is to exercise your right to remain silent under the U.S. Constitution. You will always have a right to tell your story in court, under your terms, if you and your lawyer decide it is in your best interest. We recommend that you answer the basic biographical questions (name, address, etc.), provide license, registration, and insurance, and step out of the vehicle if asked. Beyond that, please know and exercise your rights.
Are Drug-Related DUI Charges Generally In Lieu Of Other Drug Related Charges Such As Possession Or Trafficking?
No. If there are drugs found on your possession or in your vehicle during a DUI arrest, you will always be charged with possession of those drugs in addition to your DUI charge. The drugs found in your possession will also be used as evidence in the DUI prosecution against you.
For more information on Drug-Related DUI Laws In South Carolina, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (843) 856-2222 today