New DUI law going into effect

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AIKEN --- The penalty for drinking and driving in South Carolina gets tougher today.

A new DUI law spells out higher fines, longer jail time and mandatory counseling for intoxicated motorists.

According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, the new law is designed to close loopholes that have allowed some to avoid convictions.

Although traffic fatalities were down in 2008 from the previous year, the percentage of DUI-related deaths increased, state statistics show. In 2008, of the 914 people killed on South Carolina highways, 461 -- about 50 percent -- were involved in DUI-related accidents. In 2007, alcohol-related accidents resulted in 463 -- or 43 percent -- of the 1,077 traffic deaths, according to safety officials.

Highlights of the new law:

- Higher penalties for convictions. The higher the blood alcohol content, the stiffer the penalty. The law creates a tiered penalty system based on how many times drivers are convicted and how much alcohol is in their system. The blood-alcohol limit is 0.08 percent. The new penalties get harsher at 0.10 percent and 0.16 percent. Also, repeat offenders will face larger fines and longer prison sentences.

- Less strict Miranda warning procedure. According to the new law, the officer only has to read the Miranda rights to the suspect once upon arrest instead of three times.

- Stronger breath-test refusal penalty. Drivers who refuse breath tests will have their licenses suspended for six months instead of three.

- Required counseling. Convicted drunken drivers, including first-time offenders, must complete an alcohol- and drug-treatment program.

The Legislature approved the changes last year.

Associated Press reports were used in this article.

Reach Michelle Guffey at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or michelle.guffey@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (27) Add comment
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GGpap
528
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GGpap 02/10/09 - 05:42 am
0
0
Piecemeal! Not strong enough

Piecemeal! Not strong enough to really address the problem. Confiscate the vehicle on the 2nd offense, not matter who owns the title. The latter should also be applied to those that text and babble on cell phones while driving. GGpap

patriciathomas
44
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patriciathomas 02/10/09 - 06:16 am
0
0
Multiple offenders are still

Multiple offenders are still driving today. The prison sentences become short stays in the local jail and the driver, usually with no license or insurance, is back on the road. The stiffer laws would be nice if they made a difference. If they're not enforced any more often than the current laws, what difference will it make?

SandyK2005
1
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SandyK2005 02/10/09 - 06:29 am
0
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The #1 way to prevent drunk

The #1 way to prevent drunk driving is to just eliminate alcohol altogether. But Bubba will riot, so let's keep appearances of getting "tough on crime", instead. Then add to it, Sunday serving of alcohol to make darn sure Bubba can be drunk and possibly kill another on the Sabbath, too. Oh, how schizophrenically Christian.

daMan
0
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daMan 02/10/09 - 07:14 am
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Jesus was a bubba????

Jesus was a bubba????

GnipGnop1
2
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GnipGnop1 02/10/09 - 09:15 am
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How bout Leroy with his mad

How bout Leroy with his mad dog 20/20 and his scrap iron too? Talk about a racist comment. Couldn't you just have said ALL drinkers?

walrus4ever
396
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walrus4ever 02/10/09 - 09:16 am
0
0
Lose your license in SC? Get

Lose your license in SC? Get on the road on a moped and create accidents for law abiding motorists as you swerve and drive in 55 mph zones at 20 mph. Add a rider to be even more hazardous. What a joke!

icanusethat
0
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icanusethat 02/10/09 - 09:35 am
0
0
this law is not tough enough

this law is not tough enough

My_2nd
0
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My_2nd 02/10/09 - 09:40 am
0
0
i agree....2nd DUI conviction

i agree....2nd DUI conviction should mean what ever vehicle they were operating at the time will be confiscated. taking a persons license after multiple offenses does not prevent them from driving. they also need to increase the fines 10x. other countries have very tough driving laws and we need to do the same. people forget that driving is a privilege, not a right.

GnipGnop1
2
Points
GnipGnop1 02/10/09 - 09:45 am
0
0
What if they are in a county

What if they are in a county vehicle or stolen vehicle. You are talking a mighty slippery slope. What if they took your vehicle while you were asleep,at work or out of town? You might wanna rethink that law.

CyndiCk
0
Points
CyndiCk 02/10/09 - 09:56 am
0
0
We need the same law for DUI

We need the same law for DUI that they have in Siberia...life in prison for the first offense.

My_2nd
0
Points
My_2nd 02/10/09 - 09:58 am
0
0
then they also get charged

then they also get charged with vehicle theft and receive no less than 10 years in prison. no parole. but since most dui's occur in the drivers own vehicle, that is not a huge concern.

GnipGnop1
2
Points
GnipGnop1 02/10/09 - 10:04 am
0
0
You still have a burden of

You still have a burden of proof of whether or not the car was actually stolen. A better alternative is mandatory jail time for a 2nd offense. (lengthy jail time) It will never happen though. DUI's keep judges and lawyers in business.

curly123053
7174
Points
curly123053 02/10/09 - 10:17 am
0
0
When you have

When you have legislature/lawyers making the laws they will almost always include loopholes and ways for lawyers to navigate. When that legislature/lawyer is home from the legislative sessions representing his clients he wants to make sure he still has a means to get them off. Does this make sense?

GGpap
528
Points
GGpap 02/10/09 - 10:36 am
0
0
GGpap: GnipGnop, sometimes we

GGpap: GnipGnop, sometimes we have to sacrifice a few lambs in order to trap the wolves. Whoa! Just kidding, BUT, there are always those pesky hypotheticals to natter us to death. When they rear their ugly head I'm sure we'll be able to deal with them appropriately. GGpap

mar_1081
0
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mar_1081 02/10/09 - 12:02 pm
0
0
Wow, Sandyk2005 - I drink. I

Wow, Sandyk2005 - I drink. I drink responsibly and there is no reason I should not be allowed to. Have you heard of basic rights. That ammendment was repealed. Grow up. Down push your beliefs on everyone else!

stumpjumper
2
Points
stumpjumper 02/10/09 - 12:03 pm
0
0
BoBo, said in his speach last

BoBo, said in his speach last night, he would have a beer in a heart-beat. What's that telling America ?

gardez la foi
0
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gardez la foi 02/10/09 - 12:50 pm
0
0
Gee BoZo's, if you're gonna

Gee BoZo's, if you're gonna drink, stay your [filtered word] at home.

mable8
4
Points
mable8 02/10/09 - 01:55 pm
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0
And after you fill up the

And after you fill up the prisons with DUI offenders, where will you put the REAL criminals, you know, murders, robbers, rapists, and pedophiles? Guess they will get the slap on the wrist and be told "now don't do that anymore, ya hear." Alcoholism is a social illiness, and it should be addressed that way. Almost every family has an alcoholic or two within their ranks, yet no one lifts a finger to do something about it--just wait for John Law to catch them and be done with it. Or better yet, let your teenage child be caught DUI, then you will certainly grouse about the inequities of the new law because, in your view, Johhny and Sally "don't deserve this kind of treatment; they're good kids."

johnny24
0
Points
johnny24 02/10/09 - 02:44 pm
0
0
According to the SC stats,

According to the SC stats, sober drivers caused more highway deaths than drunk drivers in 2007 and 2008. 20 years ago DUI's resulted in a much smaller fine and less of a penalty. Why the devastating, career-ending penalties now? I think it's a politally-generated issue kind of like the seatbelt law - everyone knows it's safer to wear a seatbelt, but the government has no (excuse me) isn't supposed to have the authority to make people wear them. It's not their role to legislate that.

mooseye
365
Points
mooseye 02/10/09 - 05:48 pm
0
0
I don't think driving should

I don't think driving should be a privilage. In this country, you are subject to starve to death without a car to drive for work and shopping. I suppose in big cities with public transportation, alot of people don't drive. But in most areas, you are stranded without a car. I agree that driving while intoxicated by any substance is bad, but the DUI law is one of the few, if not only, where you are punshied for what you might do. Thousands of people drink and or take drugs and then drive without causing any problem. Any one of them would be treated as if they had caused an accident if they were stopped. Why is alchol sold were you have to drive to the place and drink it there and then drive home? Some counties in KY have semi-dry laws that only allow drinking on premises and you can't buy alchol and take it home and drink it safely. What brain child thought of that one??? OKAY! who got me started?

SandyK2005
1
Points
SandyK2005 02/10/09 - 08:49 pm
0
0
"Wow, Sandyk2005 - I drink. I

"Wow, Sandyk2005 - I drink. I drink responsibly and there is no reason I should not be allowed to." ----- Yes there's a very good reason you shouldn't drink at all: not only because it promotes societal decay, it's a healthcare nightmare. For example, drinking even "responsibly" will damage your liver overtime. And guess who'll be paying for your pleasure down the road? Want welfare, pay for your entertainment on your dime. If you can't, stop drinking alcohol, period.

SandyK2005
1
Points
SandyK2005 02/10/09 - 08:53 pm
0
0
"In this country, you are

"In this country, you are subject to starve to death without a car to drive for work and shopping." ------ And cities and their businesses are too stupid to realize they lost many sales over time due to it, too. I use public transportation, but now more and more I buy items online, as I sure can't bring a comforter on the bus back home, let alone 10 bath towels, as there's no space. Local business loss, let alone APT's, not mine.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 02/10/09 - 10:18 pm
0
0
And why is it that you do not

And why is it that you do not have a license Sandyk???

SandyK2005
1
Points
SandyK2005 02/10/09 - 11:48 pm
0
0
I do have a license, but

I do have a license, but unless you want me to drive and have a heart attack behind the wheel while driving and kill you on the road, I don't. Either you're responsible or you're not, don't make excuses.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 02/11/09 - 04:17 am
0
0
So how is your medical

So how is your medical condition preventing you from driving make businesses and cities stupid because they are losing sales to online??? What can they do??? They have nothing to do with the fact you can't drive!!! That's my point!! I'm not the one making excuses and blaming people who have nothing to do with your choices, sounds like you guys are!!!

corgimom
50073
Points
corgimom 02/11/09 - 08:56 am
0
0
Nobody has the right to drive

Nobody has the right to drive drunk. Period. If people want to drink, that's fine, but if you don't want a DUI, don't drink and then drive. As for no one lifting a finger to help alcoholics, you can't help people that don't want to be helped.

TakeAstand
13
Points
TakeAstand 02/11/09 - 10:15 am
0
0
Last night it didnt post my

Last night it didnt post my response to mooseye, but anyone intelligent could have guessed what it may have been lol. I'm not going to get wound up about it again though I hve it right here!! hahahaha

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