Can I Refuse a Breathalyzer Test in South Carolina?
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious crime in South Carolina, and law enforcement officers have various tools at their disposal to determine if a driver is impaired. One of these tools is the breathalyzer test. If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in South Carolina, you may be asked to take a breathalyzer test.
In South Carolina, there are serious consequences for refusing a breathalyzer test:
- Administrative License Suspension: The most immediate consequence of refusing a breathalyzer test in South Carolina is an administrative license suspension. This means that your driver’s license will be suspended by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The length of the suspension depends on the number of prior offenses you have and can range from six months to five years.
- Evidence in Court: If you are charged with drunk driving, refusing a breathalyzer test can also be used as evidence against you in court. The prosecution can argue that your refusal to take the test shows that you knew you were guilty of driving under the influence. This can make it more difficult for your defense attorney to argue that the test results were unreliable or that there was not enough evidence to prove you were drunk.
- Admissibility in Court: In South Carolina, the results of a breathalyzer test are admissible in court as evidence of drunk driving. If you do not take the test there are no results to admit into evidence. However, the jury will be instructed to infer that you were impaired based on your refusal to blow into the datamaster. The prosecution can use that inference along with other evidence, such as the results of a field sobriety test or eyewitness testimony, to prove that you were drunk.
- Right to Legal Representation: If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in South Carolina, you have the right to legal representation. This means that you have the right to have an attorney present when you take the breathalyzer test. Your attorney can advise you on your rights and responsibilities and help you understand the consequences of refusing the test.
Are Breathalyzer Results Always Accurate?
A breathalyzer test is a device used to measure the concentration of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream by analyzing the amount of alcohol in their breath. The test works by using a chemical reaction between the alcohol in the breath and a chemical in the breathalyzer that changes color to indicate the amount of alcohol present.
The breathalyzer test measures the concentration of alcohol in a person’s breath in units of weight per volume, usually expressed as grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath (or g/210L). This measurement is then used to estimate the concentration of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream, which is usually expressed as a blood alcohol content (BAC) level.
Breathalyzer tests are used by law enforcement to determine if a driver is impaired by alcohol and to enforce drunk driving laws. In many states, including South Carolina, if a driver is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving, they may be required to take a breathalyzer test. The results of the test can be used as evidence in court to support drunk driving charges.
Breathalyzer tests are not always 100% accurate, and there are various factors that can impact the reliability of the results, such as the calibration of the device, the training of the operator, and the health of the person taking the test. As a result, it’s always recommended to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you are facing drunk driving charges based on breathalyzer test results.
If you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving in South Carolina, it’s important to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to taking a breathalyzer test. Refusing the test can result in serious consequences, including administrative license suspension, criminal penalties, and difficulties in mounting a defense in court. If you are facing drunk driving charges, it’s recommended that you consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney for guidance. Call Bannon Law Group at 843-815-4505 or 912-239-6610 for a case evaluation today!