How can you get arrested if your BAC is under .08?
In South Carolina, if a police officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol, you may be asked to take a breath test. This test is designed to determine blood alcohol content (BAC) by measuring the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. As most people know, a reading of .08 or above usually leads to a DUI charge.
But what if you blow a .06 or .07? Can you still be charged with DUI? The answer is yes.
How a breath test reading can be used against you
The truth is that in South Carolina, there is no such thing as a “legal limit” when it comes to DUI breath tests. Under the law, a breath test of .08 or above is enough evidence for a charge of driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration (DUAC).
A BAC of .08 can be used as evidence of impairment for a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) – but so can a BAC of .06 or .07. That’s in addition to other evidence, such as witness statements and an officer’s observations of your behavior.
What if you blow a .05 or lower? This is fairly weak evidence of alcohol impairment, but if an officer suspects drug use, a urine or blood test may be sought.
Under the state’s “implied consent” law, drivers are expected to consent to testing if suspected of driving under the influence. Drivers who refuse face a license suspension of 6 months, or longer if they have had previous offenses.
Challenging breath test evidence in South Carolina
Police in South Carolina use the Datamaster DMT to administer breath tests for suspected drunk drivers. These machines are located at the station, and the results can be used as evidence against you. That’s why you need an experienced DUI defense attorney who knows how to fight back.
A lawyer will have a thorough knowledge of the procedures that police are required to follow when administering breath tests. Your lawyer can then investigate to find answers about whether these procedures were followed. Specifically:
- Were you notified that you have the right to refuse the breath test?
- Were you tested within 2 hours of being arrested?
- Was there a 20-minute observation period before the test was done?
- Is there video of the test, including the observation video?
- Was the officer conducting the test properly trained and certified?
- Was a simulator test run first, and did the reading fall within the accepted range?
- Was the machine properly maintained?
Call an experienced South Carolina DUI attorney for help.
A DUI conviction can leave you facing thousands in fines, jail time, higher insurance premiums, and damage to your reputation and relationships. If you have been arrested for DUI in the Columbia, SC, area, it’s important to get legal advice from an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible.
Attorney Matt Bodman is a former prosecutor who is very familiar with breath test evidence used in DUI cases. He also understands that mistakes can be made. There’s too much at stake when you are facing charges. That’s why attorney Bodman will investigate and take action to have breath test evidence excluded if procedures weren’t followed.
Learn your legal options and get answers to your questions. Contact Matt Bodman, P.A., today to schedule a free consultation at his Columbia, SC, office.