Elements of a DUI Case

There are two ways that the state may prove a DUI. The first is the traditional DUI, where the state must demonstrate that you were impaired by alcohol or drugs to the extent that it affected your ability to drive. The State will typically attempt to prove this fact through introduction of breathalyzer results, field sobriety test results, observations of witnesses as to your behavior, observations of the officer as to how you were driving before he stopped you, and introduction of any statements that you made to the police.

The second is the per se, or DUAC, statute. Under the DUAC (driving with an unlawful alcohol concentration) statute, the state need only prove that your blood alcohol content was greater than .08. Obviously, you will only be charged under this statute if you submit to alcohol testing. If you are charged with DUAC, you may still introduce evidence to contradict the results of the test. If the test gave an inaccurate result or the proper procedures were not followed, your case can be dismissed or the jury can still find you not guilty.

The breathalyzer is the most common test given in DUI cases but urinalysis and blood tests are utilized as well. You can refuse to submit to testing - however if you do so, your license will be immediately suspended pursuant to South Carolina's implied consent statute.

Field sobriety tests are often given on the roadside and will be used as evidence in the state's case. When field sobriety tests are given, the correct procedure must be followed by the police - and even then they are not a reliable indicator of blood alcohol content.

Videotaping of the incident location and the breathalyzer site is mandatory under South Carolina law. These videos can be obtained by your attorney during the discovery process. They are often pivotal in your case, as they can show not only your behavior, but they can potentially show the reason for the traffic stop, the behavior of the police, and whether the police followed proper procedures during the administration of field sobriety tests and the breathalyzer.