Jun

11

Turning Head over Heels for Ignition Interlock Devices!

By admin

Being convicted of DUI may now carry penalties that you would have never expected. If you’ve read the news lately, it seems like breath alcohol ignition interlock devices are all the rage in terms of fighting drunk driving.

For those unsure what this device does, an ignition interlock is installed in the vehicle of a DUI offender and requires a person to blow into a breathalyzer in order for the car to start. If any or a certain amount of alcohol is detected, the car will not start. With that said, three states currently have ignition interlock legislation waiting to be signed by their respective governors.

Illinois and South Carolina have recently “turned over” ignition interlock legislation to Governors Rod Blagojevich and Mark Sanford, respectively. The Illinois legislation would require people with a first DUI offense to install an ignition interlock if they wanted to drive to work while their driver’s licenses were suspended.

A Springfield Journal Register story added that this legislation would apply to anyone who is pulled over on suspicion of DUI and fails or refuses a breath test. It is unknown whether Blagojevich will sign this legislation, but he has a little less than 60 days to do so.

Hours before the legislature adjourned for 2007, the South Carolina General Assembly passed legislation that would require repeat DUI offenders to pay for the installation of ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.

South Carolina was thinking about requiring ignition interlock devices for first-time extreme DUI offenders (with a BAC of 0.15 percent or more), but that measure garnered too much opposition.

Underage drinking would also be especially targeted in this current proposal headed to Governor Sanford’s desk. Specifically, police would be allowed to find out who bought kegs at parties where minors were drinking while minors would be allowed to buy alcohol during police stings of bars and liquor stores.

In Oregon, a bill that would require offenders with a first DUI to install ignition interlock devices for at least a year after they resumed driving is sitting on the desk of Governor Ted Kulongoski. Oregon currently requires first-time offenders to use ignition interlocks for six months after regaining their driving privileges.

In addition to this legislation, Governor Janet Napolitano signed legislation on May 18th that will now require all Arizona DUI offenders in the state to install ignition interlock devices for at least one year. A similar law was enacted in New Mexico in 2005.

This prevalence on the use of ignition interlock devices is another example of how legislators are constantly looking for new means to curb DUI and how DUI penalties nowadays are getting much more creative and far-reaching as compared to years past.

Jun

4

South Carolina DUI Law Dies in Legislature Until Next Year

By Guest Attorney

South Carolina’s new DUI law failed to pass through the state’s legislature this year. The Governor says he hopes to take it up again in January, 2008.

Among other things, the South Carolina bill would create an extreme DUI law, where a driver convicted of DUI with a high blood alcohol level (BAC) would receive stiffer DUI penalties than someone who just breaks the BAC limit of 0.08 percent.

Nov

29

Council Proposes Tougher South Carolina DUI Laws

By Mary Ann

The South Carolina Impaired Driving Prevention Council, made up of representatives from various state agencies and organizations involved with highway safety proposed toughening South Carolina’s DUI laws. Proposals include: 1) suspending a driver’s license for a full year upon refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test (up from 90 days), 2) eliminating South Carolina’s requirement that Miranda warnings be given to a suspected drunk driver prior to administering field sobriety and breath tests (S.C. is the only state currently requiring such Miranda warnings), 3) keeping the existing 10?year window for DUI convictions to be considered as prior offenses (rather than reducing the window to 5 years), and 4) allowing magistrates and municipal judges to hear DUI cases that carry a maximum 90?day sentence (up from the current 30?day sentence limit).

Nov

25

South Carolina Governor Calls for Tougher DUI Laws

By Mary Ann

South Carolina’s Governor has called for strengthening DUI penalties in the State. A Governor’s study panel is recommending a tiered penalty system. Principally, the new laws would add penalties for driving with an aggravated BAC. The four tiers would be:

(1) Driving With An Unlawful Alcohol Concentration: Driving with a BAC of at least .08 percent but less than .10 percent. Maximum penalties would range from 30 days in jail for a first offense to five years in prison for fourth and subsequent offenses, plus fines. 

(2) Driving With An Unlawful and High Alcohol Concentration: Driving with a BAC of at least .10 percent but less than .16 percent. Maximum penalties would range from 30 days in jail for a first offense to six years in prison for fourth and subsequent offenses, plus fines.

(3) Driving With An Unlawful and Gross Alcohol Concentration: Driving with a BAC of at least .16 percent. Maximum penalties would range from 90 days in jail for a first offense to seven years in prison for fourth and subsequent offenses, plus fines.

(4) Driving While Impaired: Driving while “materially and appreciably impaired.” Maximum penalties range from 30 days in jail for a first offense to five years in prison for fourth and subsequent offenses, plus fines. Not dependant on BAC tests.

While the Governor defended his position saying that defense attorneys were profiting from the existing system, at least one DUI defense attorney declared that tougher laws would bring more business to DUI lawyers.