South Carolina is one of the difficult states regarding a DUI conviction. The anti-drunk driving group named MADD, i.e., Mothers Against Drunk Driving, recently conducted a survey. The survey says that the conviction rate in South Carolina is below average as compared to other states in the country. The MADD also cites that the reasons behind this low DUI conviction rate are due to the state’s DUI laws. They exert that the laws need to be changed and be sterner.
MADD is actually an organization started by a mother who lost her son in a drunk driving accident. With time, many similar mothers and other people joined hands to develop this group that works on minimizing DUI cases.
If you are accused of drunk driving, reach out to the Bateman Law Firm for the best defense.
More About the Low Conviction Rate in South Carolina
The survey considered 832 courts cases in South Carolina from 1st January 2016 to 30th September 2016. The report concluded that the DUI charges were reduced to just reckless driving charges, ultimately lowering the overall DUI conviction rate.
As told by the Greenville News report, the MADD claims that only 48% of the total DUI cases found the accused guilty as against the state’s record of 68%.
The MADD advocated that the problem lies in the videotape evidence the SC courts demand to prove a defendant guilty of the crime. There should be a videotape that records the suspect is pulled over till they are placed in the police car. This evidence makes the DUI prosecution overburdening. In the majority of the cases, due to lack of such evidence, the defendants are released without any severe punishment.
The MADD is, therefore, working towards making the video evidence less of a requirement in DUI convictions.
What Do Critics Say About MADD Report?
The critics pointed out some problems with the findings of the report. The report focused on only the 5th Judicial Circuit courts (i.e., Kershaw and Richland counties) and the 13th Judicial circuit courts (i.e., Greenville and Pickens counties).
Thus, the Solicitor Walt Wilkins of the 13th Circuit court points out that the MADD only considered the Magistrate courts and not the general session DUI courts and city courts. He also points out that comparing the 5th Judicial Circuit cases to the 13th Judicial Circuit was not feasible. For, 5th Judicial Circuit has a dedicated DUI court, and the arresting officer prosecutes the cases. In the 13th Judicial Circuit, the cases are prosecuted at Solicitor’s Office by the attorney.
The critics also assert that, in actuality, the 5th judicial Court has a high conviction rate, with 88% of the DUI conviction cases finding the accused guilty. In comparison, the remaining 12% were found guilty of reckless driving.
Criminal Defense Help
If you are a defendant in a DUI case and arrested under a DUI charge, don’t assume you have few chances to fight this off. The above article clearly states the South Carolina DUI laws make it tough for the attorneys and prosecutors to prove their cases.
This is advantageous for DUI defendants if they hire a criminal defense attorney on time. A right attorney defends his clients well and tries his best to fight all the charges or at the very least minimize the punishment. In certain cases, DUI cases may be reduced to reckless driving cases.
A reckless driving conviction carries less severe penalties as compared to a DUI conviction.
South Carolina DUI Charges
In South Carolina, you are considered Driving Under the Influence if your Blood Alcohol Concentration is found to be 0.08 or above. Depending on the level of BAC, the suspect has to spend jail time, pay fines and penalties, and in severe cases have to give up their driving license as well.
In some instances, the defendant also has to install an IID, i.e., Ignition Interlock Device, in their vehicle. This device makes sure that the accused no longer drinks and drives. The person has to blow air into the device before unlocking the keyhole.
In South Carolina, the punishment for DUI charges also becomes severe if it’s a second-time offense or even more.
However, getting in touch with the right criminal defense attorney at the right time helps the defendant protect their rights. To learn more about DUI conviction and how you can present your case in the best manner, contact us today.