A South Carolina DUI defense lawyer shares the details you should know
In South Carolina, there are certain situations in which a police officer can request a blood sample from a suspected drunk driver or seek a warrant to have blood drawn. If blood is going to be drawn, the driver needs to be taken to the hospital. But just over the border in Georgia, that may no longer be the case.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has announced plans to establish a phlebotomy program that will train state and local police officers to draw blood. Funding comes from an impaired driving grant of about $44,000. The agency said training officers will help in the prosecution of DUI cases.
State sees the program as an aid to prosecution
“A blood test is often the key piece of evidence needed to convict a DUI driver in court, but the barriers law enforcement officers are facing in getting blood drawn during a DUI investigation are resulting in too many of these cases going to trial without any toxicology evidence,” said agency director Allen Poole in a news release.
The agency said that getting blood evidence sooner can provide a more accurate measure of a driver’s blood-alcohol level and return officers to patrolling the streets faster.
Training for officers will include 10 hours of online training and 32 hours of classroom training. When officers complete the training, they will have the same qualifications as phlebotomists who work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other medical facilities.
The Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility awarded the grant.
The establishment of the program is also being closely watched by DUI defense attorneys.
In South Carolina, a police officer can request a blood sample if the driver has an injured mouth, if the driver is unconscious, if the driver is dead, or if the driver is unable to take a breath test for certain reasons. Consent or a warrant is generally necessary unless a driver is being charged with felony DUI in a crash that left a victim seriously injured or killed.
Contact a DUI defense attorney in South Carolina today
The results of blood tests can be valuable evidence for prosecutors. But a skilled DUI defense lawyer knows how to challenge the admissibility of these tests.
There’s a lot at risk if you have DUI charges. You could be facing steep fines, a license suspension, and possibly even jail time. When you do get your license back, you may need to pay to have an Ignition Interlock Device installed in your car. A conviction for drunk driving could affect your ability to get a job, a loan, or housing. It can also affect your reputation.
That’s why it’s important to have an experienced DUI defense lawyer on your side. An attorney can carefully review your arrest report to look for mistakes and inconsistencies. A lawyer can challenge evidence and fight to minimize, reduce, or possibly even dismiss your charges.
Our law firm can help. As a former prosecutor, attorney Matt Bodman has decades of experience and knows how to build a strong defense. If you are facing DUI charges in Columbia or anywhere in South Carolina, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.