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Technicalities affect South Carolina restaurant owner's DUI case

The South Carolina Court of Appeals has reversed the decision of a lower court to bar the use of a Breathalyzer test as evidence in a restaurant owner's drunk driving case. As a result, prosecutors in this South Carolina DUI case will be permitted to use the Breathalyzer test against the man. Clearly, this news will be seen as a setback for the man's criminal defense.

The 62-year-old man faces charges of felony DUI relating to his involvement in a fatal 2008 accident between his pickup truck and a motorcycle. Allegedly, the motorcyclist drove into the back of the man's pickup truck. The crash resulted in the death of the motorcyclist and injured a passenger who was riding on the back of the bike.

At first, the man's defense counsel successfully suppressed evidence pertaining to his Breathalyzer test results. His lawyers argued that because the test was not given to the man within a two-hour window of his arrest, it could not be used as evidence. This two-hour limitation relates to a law that was enacted in 2009, but the man's lawyers successfully argued that the law should be retroactively applied to the man's case. Now, the Court of Appeals has reversed that decision, citing various reasons why the law is not intended for retroactive application.

Breathalyzer test results are often used as the prosecution's most powerful piece of evidence against an individual accused of DUI. However, in South Carolina DUI cases where a Breathalyzer test was not administered in the way that state laws require, it may be possible to suppress those results. In other words, sometimes it is possible to bar Breathalyzer results from being used as evidence in a case. This is one of many effective strategies used to defend an individual against accusations of DUI.

Source: myrtlebeachonline.com, MYRTLE BEACH: Appeals court reverses Breathalyzer ruling in Myrtle Beach restaurateur's fatal DUI case, David Wren, Oct. 30, 2013

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