Proposed law would require standards for DUI arrest videos
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina has some of the highest rates of DUI in the nation according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
To curb this number lawmakers have put their focus on the issue and passed some new laws. They want to standardize the procedure law enforcement officers use when they pull over a suspected drunk driver.
With the legislation, lawmakers want to make it clear that all video taken at a stop site contains audio. They also want to change the way magistrates use these videos in court.
Currently there is no standard practice for video recording DUI suspects.
Victim advocates say some agencies use audio and some don't. While some agencies don't even have recording capabilities, advocates of the bill want to take it a step further. They say too often magistrates throw out DUI video because a suspect steps out of frame momentarily.
"Our desire is to clarify that in the law, that you can't just dismiss a DUI on its face because you have a partial face or a partial foot," said Laura Hudson with the South Carolina Crime Victims' Council. "Because the camera is fixed, and we can't guarantee that someone who's been stopped for being impaired is going to be centered in front of the camera."
The South Carolina Sheriff's Association is also advocating for this legislation and says it has a real chance at passage this session.
Lawmakers are confident this law will pass because it fixes a clerical error in another DUI law to pass this year-- Emma's Law. Emma's Law mandates all first-time DUI offenders have an ignition interlock system installed in their vehicles.
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