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Many states have ignition interlock penalty for first-time DUI

More measures have been taken to prevent drunk driving in the United States. As of April 11, 26 states have passed laws that require all individuals who are convicted of DUI for the first time to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. South Carolina is one of several states that only requires the device under certain circumstances.

Ignition interlock devices prevent drivers from starting their vehicles until they breath into the system to prove that they have not been drinking. In 26 states, people who are convicted of driving with a .08 percent blood alcohol content or higher just once must install the device in their vehicles.

In South Carolina, however, the law requires that first-time convicted drunk drivers have a BAC of .15 percent or higher before they have to install an ignition interlock device. The Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Service states that the device must have a camera and that the court can order stiff penalties against drivers in the Ignition Interlock Program who drive a vehicle without the device.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the number of fatalities resulting from drunk driving has dropped 40 to 50 percent in the states that apply ignition interlock requirements to all offenders. The group also reports that ignition interlock devices have prevented 1.77 million people from trying to drive after drinking. MADD notes that the devices are essential because one-third of drunk drivers are repeat offenders.

The lawyers representing defendants who are facing drunk driving charges could present evidence that a health condition or medication was the reason for driving erratically. They could also attempt to challenge the administration of a field sobriety or breath test.

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