South Carolina DUI’s & Your Right to Independent Testing
There has been discussion in the news recently regarding the right a person has to an independent test when they are arrested for DUI. In one article I read, a couple of my lawyer colleagues who were interviewed didn’t get the law of this topic exactly correct. The right to an independent test in a DUI setting is an important right. Every person arrested for DUI or Felony DUI in South Carolina has a right to an independent test and must be advised of that right in writing. A police officer may not ask for a blood test from a person unless the person is charged with felony DUI or the officer has reasonable suspicion that the person is under the influence of something other than alcohol.
The costs of such a test falls on the person who asks for an independent test. If a person under arrest for DUI asks for an independent or blood test, the question arises as to what responsibility the officer has to make that happen. In the Lewis case, the court concluded that Lewis was afforded for an independent blood test when the officer simply allowed Lewis to use the phone to call a physician. In State v. Knighton it was held that the officer offering a phone to the accused constituted extension of a reasonable opportunity to obtain an independent test.
In Columbia v. Erwin, the court held that the defendant was offered a reasonable opportunity for an independent test where the officer took him to a hospital but no blood sample could be obtained. In State v. Masters, the arresting officer was on the way to the hospital with Masters for a requested independent test, but was ordered by another officer to just go ahead and take Masters straight to jail. In State v.
Smith, Smith requested an independent test and was taken to the hospital where a blood sample was taken but lost by hospital personnel. The court held that since the loss of the sample was not the fault of the officer, Smith was offerred a reasonable opportunity for an independent test.
New video of Charleston teacher charged with felony DUI during sobriety test and car ride
In newly released dash cam video by South Carolina Highway Patrol Whitney Brooks, 29, a West Ashley woman arrested and charged with felony DUI that resulted in the death of an off-duty North Charleston Police officer, Ryan MacCluen, is seen taking her field sobriety test and riding with a trooper. NCPD officer, Ryan MacCluen, 31, of Summerville was driving his motorcycle when Brooks’ car turned in front of him on Ladson Road. A trooper on scene said they noticed Brooks had red glassy eyes, dry mouth, slow speech, delayed response and the odor of alcohol was coming from her according to SCHP. During the sobriety test, the report stated Brooks also had to use her arms to balance. The SCHP trooper asks Brooks if she was drinking during the movie and Brooks said no.
Brooks said she drank at home before going out to the movies which didn’t start until 10:15 p.m. The trooper then asks her which lane MacCluen was in, Brooks says he was in the far-right lane and said she saw him when she made the turn. Brooks and the trooper carry on a casual conversation about her life concerning her career as a teacher, kids, and math. Brooks had a bond hearing Feb. 16 where her bail was set at $125,000. The Charleston County School District says Brooks is on administrative leave during the investigation.
Will was born in New Orleans, LA in 1983 and moved to Charleston, SC in 1998. He graduated from the University of Colorado in 2006, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, with a minor in Business Administration. Thereafter, he received his J.D. degree in 2010 from the University of South Carolina School of Law. He was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in 2010 and joined the Carroll Law Firm in early 2011.Prior to joining the firm, Will worked at the Condon Law Firm, L.L.C.
in Charleston, SC and Lewis Law, Inc. in Columbia, SC. He is a member of the South Carolina Bar, Charleston County Bar, and both the National and South Carolina Associations of Criminal Defense Lawyers, as well as the Charleston County Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He is also a member of the National College on DUI Defense. In addition to memberships, he is also a Qualified Civil Mediator and has successfully completed the NHTSA DWI Detection & Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Training Program.
Will’s areas of practice include traffic tickets, DUI and all areas of criminal defense. He is admitted to practice law in all state courts in South Carolina.
Owners of Charleston’s Husk to Pay $1.1M in Drunk-Driving Settlement
Nothing funny about this: The company that owns Husk – the Charleston cause célèbre of the restaurant world where Sean Brock serves as executive chef – will pay $1.1 million as part of a settlement related to a December drunk-driving incident. According to the Post and Courier, Adam Burnell, who worked as an assistant manager and sommelier at the restaurant, left on the night of December 17 and subsequently crashed into another car around 4 a.m. The driver of that car, Quentin Gregory Miller, was killed after the car burst into flames. Burnell’s blood alcohol limit at the time was three times the legal limit in South Carolina. Neighborhood Dining Group, the company that owns the restaurant, initially denied responsibility, though Burnell was drinking at the restaurant itself after closing.
Now Neighborhood has agreed to pay around $500,000 to the victim’s parents, approximately $91,500 to his common-law wife, and an additional $490,000 in attorneys’ fees and legal costs.