A SC senator, who is also the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, was charged with DUI and providing false information to police after a traffic accident in Charleston.
His wife was also charged with providing false information to police. Although the article is sparse on detail, we can assume that Senator Paul Campbell was driving his car, rear-ended another vehicle, then pulled the ol' switcharoo with his wife before police arrived.
It appears that the allegations are that Campbell lied and said that his wife was driving. His wife then backed him up. After an investigation, highway patrol determined that he and the wife were lying...
South Carolina DUI Charges
SC's DUI law makes it a crime to drive while you are intoxicated to the extent that it materially and appreciably impairs your ability to drive.
In many cases, the breathalyzer result is the State's best evidence against you at trial. If you submit to the breathalyzer, SC's DUI laws permit certain "inferences" based on the breathalyzer result:
- .05 or less allows for an inference that the person was not under the influence of alcohol (Not guilty? Not so fast... now they will say you were under the influence of drugs...);
- .06 - .07 means there is no inference either way; and
- .08 or greater allows for an inference that the person was under the influence of alcohol.
The senator took the breathalyzer and his result was .09, which would allow for an "inference" that he was under the influence of alcohol if he goes to trial although just barely...
SC False Information to Police Charges
The senator was also charged with giving false information to police after the accident. Statements by the victim of the car crash explain why Campbell and his wife were charged with lying to police:
Campbell, 71, said he wasn't driving when the collision happened on a congested portion of Interstate 26 near Goose Creek. But the victim, 21-year-old Michaela Caddin of Summerville, said she watched Campbell get out of the driver's seat, walk behind his car and swap seats with his wife after the wreck...
"I was shocked when I heard the story he told the media," Caddin told reporters when reading from a statement. "I was afraid when I heard a man entrusted with so much power say something that was so different from what I saw happen."
Campbell later told a reporter for the State news "I think I'm innocent..."
"The charges are one thing; let's see what comes out in court," Campbell told The State newspaper when reached by a reporter Sunday. "I think I'm innocent, and I think in the court case it'll come out that way. I just tell people "Don't judge me on the charge, judge me on the court case."
The truth is there was no need for Campbell to lie about who was driving the vehicle - a .09 result on the breathalyzer is barely over the "legal limit." If the "limit" is .08, and his attorney can show jurors why the breathalyzer results are not always reliable, it is a reasonable argument that the difference of .01 in the breathalyzer result falls within the area of "reasonable doubt."
Now, instead of a simple DUI case, we are faced with the likelihood that the chairman of our state's Senate Ethics Committee lied to police and persuaded his wife to lie to police for him. Whether he is convicted of the charges or not, doesn't this raise some serious questions about the integrity of our State Senate?
Charged with DUI in SC?
Axelrod and Associates has offices in Myrtle Beach, Little River, and Rock Hill, SC.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI in Myrtle Beach, schedule a free consultation with a SC DUI defense lawyer on the Axelrod team. Call us at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today.