February 28, 2015

South Carolina Legislative Bill “H.3441″ Would Gut Current Video Recording Requirements in South Carolina DUI Cases

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South Carolina Legislative Bill “H.3441” Would Gut Current Video Recording Requirements in South Carolina DUI Casescategories: DUI

On January 28, 2015, SC House Bill “H.3441” was introduced and read for the first time in the 2015 South Carolina General Assembly session; and on that same day it was referred to the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee (see link below to full version of the bill). In summary, H.3441 would substantially cut down and virtually eliminate current mandatory video recording requirements for DUI/drunk driving investigations in South Carolina. The primary changes proposed in H.3441 consist of replacing the words “must” and “shall” with “should”. In other words – the video recording “should” begin no later than the activation of the officer’s blue lights; “should make a reasonable attempt to video record the driver”, ” should include the entire breath test procedure”, etcetera.Read More

While there are many reasons to vigorously oppose this bill, below please find a few that quickly come to mind:

1. That it is not difficult for law enforcement to comply with the requirements of our current statute in video recording the complete field sobriety tests in a DUI case. Since the performance and results of a field sobriety test are critical are often relied upon as critical evidence in a DUI prosecution, the requirement that all field sobriety tests be completely viewable by a jury should remain intact.

2. The recent South Carolina Court of Appeals opinion in State vs. Taylor has clarified what elements a field videotape must have – and that anything not statutorily required does not have to be captured on the videotape for successful prosecution to occur. Since 2009 our appellate courts have done an excellent job of interpreting and clarifying the requirements of our videotaping law. This latest opinion shows the common sense approach of our courts – and how that is progressing steadily.

3. “Cutting back or watering down” our current dash cam requirements would probably result in monies currently being used for installation and maintenance of cameras to be diverted elsewhere. If the law does not require it – then those dollars are ultimately going to be placed somewhere else in the budget. In just a few short years many of the police cars currently equipped with functioning dash cams could disappear. There is no way to overstate the evidentiary value of video recording in 2015. There is simply no way to do it.

As I have done in the past – I will continue to vigorously oppose any changes to our DUI video recording law in South Carolina.

Link to H.3441

Greenville, South Carolina DUI Attorney Steve Sumner primarily handles misdemeanor and felony DUI/drunk driving cases. Steve is a former DUI prosecutor and has been in private practice since 1994. Steve has been recognized as a South Carolina Super Lawyer® in the field of DUI defense since 2013. He is a member of the National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers™ for criminal defense. He is a member of the National College for DUI Defense and has held a judicially endorsed AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell® and a “Superb” (10.0 out 10.0) ranking with Avvo since 2011.


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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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