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Charge against South Carolina teen upgraded

The charges against a South Carolina teenager were recently upgraded after the 18-year-old's medical records were subpoenaed by prosecutors. More than a year ago, the high school student was accused of driving too fast in an accident that took a 40-year-old man's life.

According to authorities, the teen's vehicle collided head-on with an oncoming vehicle. The crash trapped the other driver, who succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The teenager was also injured and stayed in a hospital for 11 days.

On Aug. 15, prosecutors upgraded the charge against the teen to reckless homicide. This comes after subpoenaed medical records showed that the teen had traces of marijuana, methamphetamine, benzodiazepines and alcohol in his blood.

As in every state, the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving in South Carolina is 0.08 percent; that is, 0.08 is the limit for people who are of legal drinking age. In this case, the teenager's blood-alcohol concentration was shown to be 0.03 percent, which is prohibited for people under 21.

Now the high school student faces the very serious charge of reckless homicide. The court set his bond at $50,000.

Moving to keep certain kinds of evidence out of the court record is one strategy used by criminal defense attorneys to protect a defendant's rights. Sometimes police and prosecutors don't follow the proper procedures for introducing evidence, and to recognize when this occurs requires legal experience.

No matter how serious the charge, accused individuals are entitled to a competent criminal defense that, when possible, seeks a reduction or dismissal of charges.

Source: charlotteobserver.com, "SC teen charged with felony DUI for 2012 crash," Aug. 18, 2013

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