Category: Traffic Offenses

What’s the Procedure in Magistrate Court in SC?

What’s the procedure in magistrate court in SC? The magistrate court, or summary court, is the “lower court” in SC’s criminal justice system. Although magistrate court, like SC’s circuit court, also has a “civil side,” in this blog post I’m going to be talking only about the “criminal side” of the magistrate court in SC [..]

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How to Fight the DMV and Win

The S.C. Court of Appeals decision in Davis v. SCDMV is the story of how an ordinary person can fight arbitrary, ridiculous decisions by the DMV and win. The DMV tried to revoke Davis’ license as a habitual traffic offender six years after his third conviction for DUS. Davis fought the revocation at an admin [..]

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No Right to Counsel in South Carolina Summary Courts

Of course there is a right to counsel, at least when a person is sentenced to jail time, but it is systematically denied to defendants in our state’s summary courts. Indigent defendants in S.C.’s summary courts typically are not provided with court-appointed counsel, even in serious cases such as DUI or domestic violence (CDV).  In [..]

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DUI – Vertical Gaze Nystagmus

During a typical DUI related traffic stop, the officer will perform what is called Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST’s) on the driver.  The only three tests that have been approved (standardized) by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), Walk and Turn, and One-Leg Stand.  NHTSA conducted extensive research [..]

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Birchfield v. North Dakota – DUI – Criminal Penalties for Refusing a Blood Draw are Unconstitutional

In Birchfield v. North Dakota, decided on June 23, 2016, the United States Supreme Court consolidated three driving under the influence (DUI) cases from North Dakota and Minnesota.  On the facts of each case, the Court held that: 1) states cannot make it a criminal offense for a DUI suspect to refuse consent for a [..]

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South Carolina Expungement Laws

The effects of even a minor conviction such as a DUI or simple possession of marijuana can follow a person for the rest of their life, like a scarlet letter or brand that every potential employer will see, and that every police officer will see during even the most minor traffic stops.  Once a person’s [..]

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