South Carolina residents who have been accused of driving under the influence may feel there is little hope in fighting the charges against them. It is fairly well known that state laws regarding DUI are quite strict, as are the potential penalties if a conviction is ultimately secured. However, part of the law is actually helpful in DUI cases and can assist in the criminal defense of these charges.
When a person is pulled over for suspicion of DUI, the officer on-scene will typically perform the standard field sobriety tests. Local law enforcement depend on these tests, but the results are subjective and certainly open to interpretation. In 2009, an amendment to DUI laws was passed requiring officers to videotape any field sobriety testing. This was done for several purposes, including protecting drivers and officers.
This amendment has proven helpful in DUI criminal defense cases over the years. If any issues are found with the required video recording, DUI charges can be dismissed. A few examples of video problems include a complete failure to record field sobriety testing, anything obstructing the view of the driver performing these tests or a driver's feet not being shown in the recording. If any aspect is missing from one of these recordings, it is possible to request a dismissal of charges.
Currently, there is a debate in South Carolina about whether this law needs to be adjusted, but as for now, those accused of DUI can use this amendment to their advantage. Part of a well prepared DUI criminal defense would be gaining access to these video recordings for review and scrutinizing any issues, big or small, that may be apparent. While this is just one aspect of a DUI defense, it can prove extremely helpful in protecting the rights of the accused and fighting the charges at hand.
Source: wcnc.com, "SC laws make it 'nearly impossible' to convict DUIs", Dianne Gallagher, Nov. 6, 2014