There is a bill (S 178) that is being proposed to make another change in DUI laws that want to change the mandatory video requirements currently defined by our DUI statute 56-5-2953.
Why do Police want to change the laws?
Prosecutors and law enforcement argue that the strict compliance with the statute is hyper-technical or the fall back position is that it is a denial of justice. The central problem, as law enforcement see it, is the statute provides for dismissal of the charge when law enforcement do not comply with the statute. What is interesting about this argument is that law enforcement are trained on DUI procedures yearly and when they are in the process of a DUI investigation they are in complete control of the circumstances. A person under suspicion is not free to leave and they cannot tell the officer(s) where or when they would like to take the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST). There is no mandatory requirement that a person take the SFST and if they refuse, unlike refusing a breath test where your license will be suspended, there is no penalty for such a refusal. Police no this but do not tell you nor does the statute require them to inform you of this.
Do we really need to make a change?
The officer is trained on how to administer the test, where to have the accused stand when conducting the test and how to operate their own video recording equipment. What seems to be the problem is that some law enforcement officers cannot comply with the test. Yet, they are professionally trained and expect the accused, who is not trained, has only one chance to comprehend the instructions, and are judged based solely on the officers opinion, to complete the test without error. The important issue here is that it is the burden of the state to prove the case against the accused and therefore our DUI laws have a mandatory video recording requirement to preserve the evidence, and our legislators recognized that this evidence preservation was so important that failure to comply should result in a dismissal of the charge. Typically what happens is that the video evidence provides defense attorneys a chance to review the policy and procedures used to make the arrest and sometimes those procedures are not followed based on the SFST or case law. When they are not, it invalidates the standardization of the test and therefore it is compromised.
Charleston DUI Lawyer, South Carolina
If you have been arrested for DUI in Charleston call an experienced and trusted Charleston DUI Lawyer at the Dale Savage Law Firm, today 843-530-7813.