The Breathalyzer Test In South Carolina

Generally, after having been administered the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (Add link SFST), clients find themselves handcuffed and transported to a law enforcement center for the purpose of breathalyzer testing.

In South Carolina, all blood alcohol analysis by breath is done on Datamaster machines owned and maintained by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). These machines purport to determine the proportion of alcohol in a driver’s blood.

However, there are two common misconceptions among clients regarding how Greenville SC handles blood alcohol testing:

1) If I blow into the Datamaster, and I read below .08, I am fine:

FALSE. Under the South Carolina statute, if you blow at or above a .08, it may be inferred that you were driving impaired. If you blow below .05, then you are conclusively presumed not to be impaired. However, in the .05 -.08 range, there is no presumption as to your level of impairment.

Instead, the State will bring all other available evidence in order to attempt to prove that you were impaired (i.e. the SFST “results”).

Checking a breathalyzer test before choosing to drive.

2) The Datamaster is ALWAYS accurate.

FALSE. The Datamaster is a machine. As with all things made with human hands, it is imperfect. The Datamaster needs to be properly maintained and calibrated. As parts wear, they must be replaced. Moreover, the Datamaster operator must follow the correct protocol in order for the test to be even arguably accurate.

The only way to determine if the result is arguably accurate is to examine the records and evidence for each and every case.

The truth of the matter is that each and every case involving a Datamaster reading is different, and each case requires a thorough investigation of the machine’s maintenance and calibration records to achieve the best result.

John Bateman is your ally and wants to help navigate you through all the the complex and overwhelming information for a DUI in Greenville SC. Please call 844.DUI.ALLY for John Bateman, Attorney at Law or contact today.


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