Breath Tests

Thompson & Hiller Defense Firm


Breath Tests & Reliability

Confused about the reliability of breath tests in DUI cases? At Thompson & Hiller, we delve into the intricacies of breathalyzer accuracy and how it impacts your case. Learn how factors like calibration, medical conditions, and even diet can affect the results. Equip yourself with knowledge and strengthen your defense with our skill in challenging breath test reliability in South Carolina DUI cases.

Breath Tests and Their Significance in DUI Cases

The Datamaster

The Datamaster is one of the most commonly used devices for conducting breath tests in DUI cases in South Carolina. The device measures the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) from a breath sample and provides a digital reading. It’s crucial to understand that the results from the Datamaster can play a significant role in your DUI case, influencing both administrative charges and potential criminal convictions.

Video Recordings

South Carolina law mandates that the breath test process be video-recorded, from the initial stop to the administration of the test. This recording can be a crucial piece of evidence, either supporting or disputing the test’s validity or procedural accuracy.

Legal Ramifications

Refusing a breath test or registering a BAC over the legal limit can result in automatic license suspensions, administrative charges, and potential criminal charges, ranging from fines to imprisonment depending on the severity of the offense and prior DUI history.

Reliability of Breath Testing

Although breath tests are generally considered reliable, several factors can affect their accuracy:

  • Mouthwash and Dental Work: Alcohol-based mouthwashes and recent dental work can lead to false positives.

  • Cough Syrups and Medications: Over-the-counter cough syrups containing alcohol can also skew results.

  • Diabetes: Individuals with diabetes may produce ketones, which can be mistaken for alcohol by breath tests.

  • Machine Malfunctions: Calibration errors and malfunctions can sometimes produce inaccurate readings.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are usually administered in more severe DUI cases, such as accidents resulting in injury. Unlike breath tests, blood tests must be conducted in a medical facility and are generally considered more accurate. However, the manner in which the sample is collected and stored can affect the results.

Field Sobriety Tests

Various types of field sobriety tests may be employed during a DUI stop:

  • Walk-and-Turn: Involves walking in a straight line heel-to-toe and then turning around.
  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): Involves following an object with the eyes to detect involuntary jerking movements.
  • One-Leg Stand: Involves standing on one leg while counting aloud.

DMV Hearings

In South Carolina, a DMV hearing is a separate administrative procedure from your criminal case where the suspension of your driving privileges is discussed. This is your opportunity to contest the suspension, and it is crucial to be represented by experienced attorneys during this process.

The Right to Refuse and How a Lawyer Can Help

What You Can Refuse

In South Carolina, you have specific rights when it comes to DUI stops and investigations:

  • Field Sobriety Tests: You have the right to refuse field sobriety tests. These are not mandatory, and declining them cannot be used against you in a criminal court. However, it’s worth noting that refusal might lead to further suspicion by the police officer.
  • Breath Tests: You also have the right to refuse breath tests, including the Datamaster. But keep in mind that this will likely result in automatic license suspension due to South Carolina’s implied consent laws. Additionally, your refusal can be used as evidence in a criminal court.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests usually require a warrant unless certain exigent circumstances exist. You can refuse to provide a blood sample, but similar to refusing a breath test, this might result in automatic license suspension and other legal repercussions.

How a Lawyer Can Assist in the Process

Legal representation in DUI cases is not just beneficial; it’s crucial. Here’s how a lawyer, especially one with specific experience in DUI law like Thompson & Hiller, can assist you:

  • Legal Strategy: An experienced lawyer will assess all evidence, including the reliability of breath or blood tests and the procedures followed during your arrest, to develop a strong legal strategy.
  • DMV Hearings: Your attorney can represent you in DMV hearings, which are critical for the future of your driving privileges. They will present evidence and argue on your behalf to aim for the best possible outcome.
  • Rights Protection: A lawyer ensures that your rights are protected throughout the legal process. For instance, if you refused a test, a lawyer could argue whether the refusal was within your rights and whether you were adequately informed of the consequences.
  • Legal Negotiations: An experienced DUI attorney can often negotiate for lesser charges, reduced penalties, or even the dismissal of the case depending on the evidence and circumstances.
  • Court Representation: If your case goes to trial, having a seasoned attorney is invaluable. Thompson & Hiller are skilled litigators who will advocate vigorously on your behalf.

Choosing Thompson & Hiller for your DUI case ensures that you have advocates fighting to protect your rights, minimize consequences, and guide you through the complexities of both administrative and criminal proceedings.

Understanding Implied Consent and Administrative License Suspension in South Carolina

Navigating the complexities of a DUI arrest in South Carolina can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to the state’s implied consent laws. At Thompson & Hiller, we’re here to guide you through every step, from understanding implied consent to contesting an administrative license suspension. Here’s what you need to know.

What Does Implied Consent Mean in South Carolina DUI Cases?

In South Carolina, the law assumes that by driving on the state’s roads, you automatically consent to undergo breath or blood tests if arrested for DUI. This is known as “implied consent.” While you have the option to refuse these tests, doing so comes with immediate consequences, including the suspension of your driving privileges.

Immediate Actions to Take After an Implied Consent Suspension in SC

If you’ve been arrested for DUI and face an implied consent suspension, time is of the essence. You have only 30 days to request an administrative hearing to challenge the suspension. Failing to act within this timeframe can lead to mandatory enrollment in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP) and the potential installation of an ignition interlock device.

Contact a South Carolina DUI Attorney ASAP:

The first step is to consult with a seasoned DUI attorney like those at Thompson & Hiller. We can handle the paperwork, represent you at the hearing, and answer all your questions.

Temporary Alcohol Restricted License (TARL)

Once you’ve requested the implied consent hearing, you can obtain a TARL, allowing you to drive until the hearing date.

Winning Your Implied Consent Hearing in South Carolina

At the administrative hearing, you can challenge the arresting officer’s probable cause for the DUI arrest and the procedures followed during your arrest. If the hearing officer finds in your favor on any of these points, your full driving privileges will be reinstated.

What Happens After Winning an Implied Consent Hearing?

Winning an implied consent hearing is a significant victory, but it’s not the end of the road. This hearing is separate from your criminal DUI case, and you’ll still need to fight those charges to avoid further penalties.

Want to Speak With an Attorney Today?

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