FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)– Recent figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rank South Carolina first in the nation for DUI fatality rates at 44 percent, surpassing the national average by 13 percent. A further breakdown of this study reveals more than 14,700 individuals were arrested in this state last year based on alcohol-related charges alone with an additional estimated 15 percent allegedly driving under the influence of marijuana, cocaine and other controlled substances. In light of these issues, Baxter Harwell of the Harwell Law Firm P.A. has launched a new website to educate South Carolina citizens about DUI-related legal issues.
Harwell affirmed, “The statistics for our state only cover a portion of the bigger picture. Though circumstances may seem hopeless when being pulled over on suspicion of driving under the influence, those in our area should keep in mind, thousands more are accused of this type of violation than are actually arrested. Knowing what to expect if stopped by law enforcement officials and how to proceed could mean the difference between overcoming such allegations or having them needlessly impact the lives of a number of South Carolinians. The purpose of our new website is to ensure drivers in our state are well aware of their rights in a situation like this.”
According to the Harwell Law Firm website, South Carolina law dictates three valid reasons for pulling over a driver, including DUI checkpoints and suspicion or direct observation of traffic violations. While requests from an officer, such as presentation of driver’s license, proof of insurance and vehicle registration fall under the category of routine procedure, drivers are advised they have the right to refuse further cooperation. Questions regarding recent consumption of alcohol are considered invasive and are covered under Miranda rights. Though an arrest may still take place, the officer involved will have little evidence on which to stand in court.
Drivers are likewise under no legal obligation to participate in field sobriety tests. Three standard tests of this nature are recognized by the NHTSA, yet an array of factors could alter their reliability, such as natural lack of coordination on the part of the accused, circumstance-induced nervousness and officers holding unfair bias. Refusal to undergo chemical blood, breath and urine testing is also legally allowed; however, failure to participate in these evaluations comes with certain consequences pertaining to the subject’s driving rights and potential future arrests.
Concluded Harwell, “Each case is different, and the details surrounding an arrest will affect its outcome. Drivers are well within their rights to reject law enforcement officials’ attempts at eliciting incriminating evidence. These liberties are in place to protect the citizens of our state from unfair accusations. Our new site provides information and articles related to DUI laws in South Carolina, including penalties, DUS, field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests as well as underage drinking DUI to name a few points. We encourage drivers across the state to visit our new website to Learn More about their rights in a DUI scenario and find out how we can help them should the need arise.”
About the Harwell Law Firm P.A.:
With more than 20 years of experience in the field of traffic violations, attorney Baxter Harwell and his team are focused on defending the rights of South Carolina drivers using integrity, advocacy and understanding.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577