In Greenville, South Carolina, it is a crime to drive if you have been drinking and your blood alcohol content is 0.08 percent or higher. In 2014, the Legislature enacted “Emma’s Law” which was signed by the Governor. Among many changes, the new law expanded the use of mandatory breath alcohol ignition interlock devices (“BAIID”). See the fact sheet here on the website for the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Service (“SCDPPPS”). As described, a BAIID is a device designed lock your car ignition if you have been drinking and attempt to drive.
We here at the Law Office of H. Chase Harbin hope you never drink and drive. If you do and you get arrested, you will very likely be installing a BAIID on your car. Here is some basic information.
Greenville DUI Law: What Is a BAIID?
A BAIID is small electronic device that is installed inside the main compartment of your car. The BAIID is essentially a switch attached to your car’s ignition wiring. The “switch” is in the “off” position normally and, in the “off” position your car will not start. To toggle the “switch” to the “on” position, whoever is trying to drive the car must breathe into the BAIID testing module and not have a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher. Most versions of the device look like a double-large thick remote for a television with a cord running under the dashboard and a tube sticking out. There are many manufacturers of BAIIDs and some offer unique designs — such as a BAIID that looks like a plastic drink cup — for those who want to disguise the fact that they are required to have a BAIID.
Greenville DUI Law: How Does a BAIID Function in Practice?
Whatever the design, the BAIIDs all work in the same manner. First, when you get into your car, you turn on the ignition. Because the BAIID is installed, the engine will not start. But the BAIID will power up. Some BAIIDs have a display screen where the word “BLOW” might appear. Others use a light array to indicate the need to breathe into the device. Second, you blow into the BAIID which then analyzes your breath for alcohol. The BAIID has a camera, so it takes your photo as you blow — it does this each and every time you breathe into the device. If no alcohol is detected on your breath — or if the detected level is 0.02 percent or less — then your car will start.
Once you are on the road and as you are driving, the BAIID will require “re-tests.” These are prompted — the BAIID will beep at you — at random intervals. Again, the display will probably read “BLOW” and you have a few minutes to actually breathe into device. If no alcohol is detected, you continue driving. If you fail, the BAIID will turn you and your car into a spectacle on the road — the BAIID will start honking your horn every second and will start flashing all of your lights. This will be very noticeable, particularly at night. Obviously, every South Carolina State Patrolman and every Greenville city cop knows the meaning of all that honking and flashing. You are about to be pulled over. The only way to stop all the noise and flashing is to stop and turn off the ignition.
Greenville DUI Law: Other BAIID Requirements
Under the South Carolina BAIID protocols, you must take your car in for maintenance every sixty (60) days. In general, you go back to the licensed and certified repair shop that installed your BAIID. The installation shop will make sure the BAIID is working properly and will download the stored information from the device. A report is generated detailing the results of the tests, showing the photos from each test and various other information about your driving (mileage, etc.). The reports are forwarded to the SCDPPPS. The BAIID is programmed to assign “points” for various violations. For example, one point is assessed against you if, during the previous 60 days, you attempted to start your vehicle and your BAC was 0.04 percent or more but less than 0.15 percent; two points are assessed if your BAC was greater than 0.15 percent. If you begin accumulating points, then the length of time that you must keep the BAIID on your car is extended. For example, being assessed two to three points will add two months.
Greenville DUI Law: Who Is Required to Install A BAIID?
If you are convicted of driving under the influence (“DUI”) for the first time and your BAC was over 0.15 percent, you must have a BAIID installed. Likewise, a BAIID installation will be required for any second-time DUI offender, any felony DUI, child endangerment, etc. See S.C. Code § 56-5-2941 here. Certain others — first time offenders and drivers violating South Carolina’s Implied Consent laws (S.C. Code §§ 56-5-2950 and -2951) — may be eligible. Often, being willing to have a BAIID installed is helpful in attempting to gain a plea bargain from the state’s attorney’s office.
Greenville DUI Defense Attorneys: Contact The Law Office Of H. Chase Harbin Today
There are many more aspects to having a BAIID installed on your vehicle. As an example, BAIIDs will be available for motorcycles starting in mid-November 2018. Fighting to avoid a DUI conviction is a complex endeavor. It is important to seek legal counsel from the skilled and experienced Greenville SC DUI defense attorneys at The Law Office of H. Chase Harbin. As noted, we want you NOT to drink and drive and we hope you never get pulled over. But if you do, contact us immediately. We will fight to prevent a DUI conviction. You do not have to confront the police and the legal system by yourself. 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.