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Drug-related charges pending in South Carolina DUI case

A South Carolina driver accused of intoxicated driving may also face other serious criminal charges in connection with a traffic stop in early January. The 24-year-old Rock Hill man was reportedly found with a stash of prescription drugs in his vehicle when he was pulled over for suspected DUI. Officials say that the man is facing a series of drug-related charges, including possession with the intent to distribute a Schedule IV drug. Further, the driver is accused of possessing marijuana and clonazepam in addition to the drunk driving allegations.

Authorities say that the man was arrested at about 11:30 p.m. on Jan. 2, when an officer pulled over his vehicle for speeding and failing to use a turn signal. Reports from the scene indicate that the man smelled strongly of alcohol, and his speech was incoherent. Further, the arresting officer claimed that the smell of marijuana was noticeable from inside the defendant's car. While searching the vehicle, the officer discovered a stash of Xanax pills that had been hidden in a crevice in the center console. A subsequent search showed that the driver was also in possession of clonazepam, an anti-anxiety drug also known as Klonopin. Further, the driver told the officer that he had smoked pot and consumed alcoholic beverages before getting behind the wheel.

News reports do not include information about the young man's blood alcohol content at the time of the incident. That information may help determine whether the driver was legally considered intoxicated at the time of his arrest. South Carolina residents have specific rights with regard to blood alcohol measurement and test refusal; a qualified criminal defense attorney can help educate clients about those provisions.

An arrest for drugged driving or drunk driving does not mean that a defendant is automatically guilty. This young man, along with scores of other South Carolina defendants, may benefit from a consultation with a qualified criminal defense attorney, who can help him learn more about the specific requirements he faces in court.

Source: The Rock Hill Herald, "Police: Drunk driver caught with stash of drugs in Rock Hill traffic stop" Jonathan McFadden, Jan. 03, 2014

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