If you have been arrested for a DUI in Greenville or any other part of upstate South Carolina, it is important to have a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney by your side. Often, as a part of a DUI arrest, the law enforcement officers conduct sobriety testing including a possible field test, roadside breathalyzer test and station-house breath, blood and urine tests. You — as the accused — have the right to refuse such tests. But under many circumstances, warrantless and nonconsensual blood draws and urine tests can be done. If that occurs, it is doubly important to hire a proven criminal defense attorney. Being arrested is not the same as being convicted. Never forget that the government attorneys must prove — beyond a reasonable doubt — that you commited the crime. Here are a few examples of how a good defense attorney can challenge evidence obtained by a warrantless nonconsensual blood draw.
Defending DUIs In Greenville, SC — No Probable Cause
In order to arrest you in the first place, the law enforcement officer must have “probable cause.” This is a legal requirement based on the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution and on the South Carolina Constitution. Normally, a police officer must go before a judge and get a warrant before an arrest can be made. The judge tests the legal sufficiency of the reasons for the arrest. However, warrantless arrests are allowed if probable cause exists. In general, probable cause to arrest without a warrant exists when facts and circumstances — within the officer’s knowledge at the time — are sufficient for a reasonable person to believe — in good faith — that a crime has been or is being committed by the person to be arrested. See State v. Moultrie, 451 S.E.2d 34 (S. Car. App. 1994). Some examples of where probable cause would not exist include:
- You did not violate any laws prior to being stopped or being arrested
- There was nothing suspicious about your behavior prior to being stopped or arrested
- You were not in a strange or unusual place
- There was no criminal activity in your vicinity
- You did not fit the profile of someone being sought in connection with a crime
Defending DUIs in Greenville, SC — No Justification for the DUI Testing
As noted, under some circumstances, a warrantless DUI test can be compelled — like a blood draw. However, such can only be compelled if you are arrested under South Carolina Code § 56-5-2945 which requires there to be a wreck involving bodily injury and/or death. If there was no wreck or collision or if your DRIVING did not cause the collision that resulted in injury and/or death, then any warrantless, nonconsensual blood draw is inadmissible. Further, under some circumstances — such as mechanical failure — it can be shown that your IMPAIRMENT was not the cause of the accident. If that can be shown, then again, any warrantless, nonconsensual blood draw is inadmissible.
Defending DUIs In Greenville, SC — Failure to Follow Proper Procedures
Law enforcement officers must follow proper procedures with respect to any DUI testing. Among the procedures:
- Officers must inform you of your right to refuse testing
- Testing must be video recorded (or a sworn statement must be provided explaining why video recording could not be done)
- Breath testing must be taken within two hours of arrest; other testing must be done within three hours
- Breath testing must be administered by a person trained and certified
- A simulator test must be performed and the result must reflect a reading between 0.076 percent and 0.084 percent
- Blood and urine samples must be obtained by physicians, nurses and others who are properly licensed
- Samples must be obtained and handled in accordance with proper procedures
Failure by law enforcement to follow any of these proper procedures can result in the samples and test results being inadmissible at your trial.
Greenville SC Criminal Defense Attorneys: Contact the Law Office Of H. Chase Harbin Today
For more information, contact the skilled and experienced Greenville SC criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of H. Chase Harbin. We can protect your constitutional rights. Contact us today via email. We have offices in Greenville and Pickens, South Carolina.
Chase Harbin is a Criminal Defense Lawyer who practices in Pickens and Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 17 years now. Chase Harbin believes in defending the accused. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.