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Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
DUI checkpoints are a controversial practice. To many people, they seem like a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. The Supreme Court, though, has ruled otherwise, so long as checkpoints meet certain requirements. If you are arrested and charged at a DUI checkpoint, a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina DUI attorney may be able to help you avoid the worst of the penalties, get the charges dismissed, or defend against them in court.
When you come to a DUI checkpoint, officers will be pulling aside vehicles according to a particular pattern. If you are selected to be screened, then you will have a conversation with the police. They will ask a few questions and look for anything that could indicate intoxication. If they have any reason to suspect that you may be under the influence, they will send you to a designated area for further screening.
An officer will then likely perform a series of field sobriety tests to further see if there is reason to suspect that you’ve been drinking or may otherwise be intoxicated. Finally, you may be arrested and asked to take a breath test if they have good cause to believe that you are intoxicated.
Under South Carolina’s implied consent rules, you may be penalized for refusing to take the test, regardless of whether you are later convicted of a DUI. Still, there may be situations where you wish to avoid taking the test anyway and take the penalties. You should try to speak with a lawyer, if possible, before deciding.
The United States Supreme Court has said that DUI checkpoints are legal if they meet certain criteria. South Carolina law, though, incorporates these requirements and adds a few additional requirements and clarifications as well. According to law, DUI checkpoints must obey the following rules:
It’s absolutely critical that law enforcement follow every one of these requirements. Any failure to do so could invalidate any arrest that’s made. If you are arrested for DUI, it’s important to remember that you have a right to remain silent, and it’s advisable that you do so until a lawyer is present. Politely inform the police that you won’t be saying anything and would like to contact a lawyer.
A: The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution shields Americans from illegal searches and seizures. Many people argue that DUI checkpoints seem to be a clear violation of this limitation placed on the government. However, the United States Supreme Court, in a 1990 ruling, stated otherwise and has allowed DUI checkpoints, so long as certain requirements are met. According to the Supreme Court, checkpoints must:
A: If you choose not to take a breath test when requested to do so by law enforcement, it could be considered a violation of the law. Under South Carolina’s implied consent laws, drivers have consented to take a breath test upon request based on their use of the roads. Failure to do so could result in charges or penalties.
There still may be situations, though, where you could choose not to submit to the test, but be aware that there could be penalties regardless of whether you’re convicted. Also, you may still be convicted of a DUI without the breath test if the prosecution can give other evidence to sufficiently demonstrate intoxication.
A: If you realize that you are coming up to a DUI checkpoint, you can choose to turn around, so long as you do so legally. However, don’t be surprised if you are pulled over and questioned shortly after doing so, as law enforcement may consider this behavior to be suspicious.
A: A DUI is most commonly associated with a person’s blood alcohol content, or BAC, being above a particular threshold. When this occurs, it’s considered a “per se DUI,” which means that a driver is guilty of a DUI regardless of whether the alcohol was causing any material impairment to their driving. However, that’s not the only behavior that can lead to charges. According to South Carolina law, a DUI is when:
DUI charges are a serious situation, and the penalties are significant. A conviction could result in fines, license suspension, and possibly even jail time. However, with the help of a South Carolina DUI attorney, you may be able to defend against the charges or avoid the harshest of the penalties.
At Axelrod & Associates, P.A., our experienced team is prepared to use every legal option in defense of our clients. If you’ve been charged with a DUI and need help defending against the charges, contact us today.
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