In South Carolina, if a person is arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), law enforcement can request that the subject provide a breath sample to measure blood alcohol content. Oftentimes, subjects refuse to provide a breath sample (refuse to blow) because they do not want to provide further evidence to the police, because they question the reliability of the machine, or for a number of other reasons. As a consequence of refusing to provide this breath sample, the subject’s driving privileges can be suspended for 6 months and the subject can be required to enroll in the Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program (ADSAP) before being issued a driver’s license. However, the driver can challenge these penalties by requesting an administrative hearing.
Recently, one of our clients was facing a suspension for refusal to blow. However, the administrative hearing officer decided there would be no suspension because the arresting officer did not accurately advise the our client of the consequences of providing a breath sample or refusing to do so. In another case involving one of our clients, the South Carolina Court of Appeals determined that our client’s driving privileges could not be suspended because the police did not prove that the client had been properly advised of their rights to take the breath test or refuse it.