Current Status Bill Number:
1397Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: SenateIntroduced Date: 19960425Primary Sponsor: RichterAll Sponsors: RichterDrafted Document Number: RES9763.LERResiding Body: SenateCurrent Committee: Judiciary Committee 11 SJSubject: DUI, six-month license suspension for minor, blood alcohol
Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ _______________________________________ _______ ____________ Senate 19960425 Introduced, read first time, 11 SJ referred to CommitteeView additional legislative information at the LPITS web site.
TO AMEND ARTICLE 1, CHAPTER 1, TITLE 56, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 56-1-285, SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR A SIX-MONTH'S SUSPENSION OF THE DRIVER'S LICENSE OF A PERSON UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY-ONE OPERATING A MOTOR VEHICLE WHO HAS A BLOOD ALCOHOL CONTENT IN EXCESS OF TWO AND ONE HALF ONE-HUNDREDTHS OF ONE PERCENT, TO PROVIDE THAT LICENSED DRIVERS UNDER TWENTY-ONE HAVE CONSENTED TO BE TESTED, TO LIMIT TESTING TO INCIDENTS IN WHICH A PERSON HAS BEEN ARRESTED FOR A TRAFFIC OFFENSE, TO PRESCRIBE THE METHOD AND PROCEDURES FOR TESTING AND REQUIRE AN AUTOMATIC SIX-MONTH'S SUSPENSION FOR REFUSAL TO BE TESTED, TO PROVIDE THAT THE SUSPENSION BEGINS IMMEDIATELY UPON THE OFFICER TAKING POSSESSION OF THE LICENSE, TO PROVIDE FOR AN ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING ON THE SUSPENSION AT THE DRIVER'S REQUEST, AND TO PROVIDE THAT A PERSON WHOSE LICENSE IS SUSPENDED IS NOT REQUIRED TO FILE PROOF OF FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Article 1, Chapter 1, Title 56 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 56-1-285. (A) In addition to any other penalty imposed by law, including additional driver's license suspensions, the department shall suspend for six months the driver's license of a person under the age of twenty-one who operates a motor vehicle and who is determined to have a blood alcohol content in excess of two and one half one-hundredths of one percent.
(B) A person under the age of twenty-one who operates a motor vehicle in this State is considered to have given consent to chemical tests of his breath, blood, or urine for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol.
(C) A law enforcement officer who has arrested a person under the age of twenty-one for a violation of Chapter 5 of this title (the Uniform Act Regulating Traffic on Highways), or any other traffic offense established by a political subdivision of this State, may order the testing of the person arrested to determine the presence of blood alcohol.
(D) A test must be administered at the direction of the arresting law enforcement officer. At the direction of the officer, the person first must be offered a breath test to determine the alcohol content of his blood. If the person physically is unable to provide an acceptable breath sample because he has an injured mouth, is unconscious, or for any other reason considered unacceptable by the officer, a blood or urine sample may be taken. The breath test must be administered by a person trained and certified by the State Law Enforcement Division, using methods approved by the division. The arresting officer may not administer the tests. Blood and urine tests must be administered by physicians licensed by the State Board of Medical Examiners, registered nurses licensed by the State Board of Nursing, or other medical personnel trained to administer these tests in a licensed medical facility. Blood samples or urine samples must be obtained and handled in accordance with procedures approved by the division. The division shall administer the provisions of this subsection and may promulgate regulations necessary to carry out its provisions. The costs of the tests administered at the direction of the law enforcement officer must be paid from the general fund of the State.
(E) A qualified person and his employer who obtain samples or administer the tests or assist in obtaining samples or administration of tests at the direction of a law enforcement officer are released from civil and criminal liability unless the obtaining of samples or the tests are performed in a negligent manner. No person may be required by the officer ordering the tests to obtain or take any sample of blood or urine.
(F) If a person refuses, upon the request of a law enforcement officer, to submit to chemical tests as provided in subsection (E), the Department of Public Safety shall suspend his license or permit to drive, or any nonresident's operating privilege, for six months.
If a defendant under arrest, upon the request of a law enforcement officer, submits to chemical tests as provided in subsection (E), and the test results indicate a blood alcohol content in excess of two and one half one-hundredths of one percent, the department shall suspend his license or permit to drive or any nonresident's operating privilege for six months.
If the person is a resident without a license or permit to operate a motor vehicle in this State, the department shall deny to the person the issuance of a license or permit for six months after he would otherwise be eligible to be licensed. No tests may be administered or samples taken unless the person has been informed that he does not have to take the test or give the samples, but that his privilege to drive must be suspended or denied for at least six months if he refuses to submit to the tests.
The arresting officer shall promptly notify the department of the refusal of a person to submit to a test requested pursuant to this section as well as the test result of any person who submits to a test pursuant to this section and registers the presence of blood alcohol in excess of two and one half one-hundredths of one percent. The notification must be in a manner prescribed by the department.
(G) If the test registers the presence of blood alcohol in excess of two and one half one-hundredths of one percent, or if the person refuses to be tested, the arresting officer shall take possession of the person's driver's license and forward it to the department in the manner the department prescribes. The department shall suspend the license and the period of suspension begins when the arresting officer takes possession of the license. The officer taking the license shall advise the person of his right to obtain an administrative review as provided in this section.
(H) If a person whose license has been suspended pursuant to this section desires a hearing, he shall request a review by the department, in writing, within ten days of the date of the suspension. The department shall afford the person a review as early as practicable in the county in which the arrest occurred, unless the department and the person agree that the review may be held in another county.
If a written request is not received within ten days of the date of the suspension, the right to a hearing is waived and the suspension becomes final. If the person requesting the hearing fails to appear without just cause, the right to a hearing is waived and the determination of the department which is based upon the arresting officer's report becomes final.
(I) The sole issues to be considered in an administrative review on the refusal to take the chemical test are whether:
(1) the person was placed under arrest;
(2) the person was informed that he did not have to take the test, but that his privilege to drive would be suspended or denied if he refused to submit to the test;
(3) the person refused to submit to the test upon request of the arresting officer.
The sole issues to be considered in an administrative review on the operation of a motor vehicle while the person under twenty-one years of age had a blood alcohol content in excess of two and one half one-hundredths of one percent are whether:
(1) the person was placed under arrest;
(2) the person was advised of the consequences of registering a blood alcohol content;
(3) the person registered a blood alcohol content in excess of two and one half one-hundredths of one percent;
(4) the individual taking samples or administering the test was qualified in accordance with this section;
(5) the samples given and tests administered were in accordance with the division procedures.
The department, after the administrative review, shall order that the suspension or determination that there should be a denial of issuance either be rescinded or sustained. If the suspension is rescinded, the license must be promptly returned.
(J) A person who is unconscious or otherwise in a condition rendering him incapable of refusal is considered to be informed and not to have withdrawn the consent provided by subsection (B) of this section.
(K) When it is finally determined under the procedures of this section that a nonresident's privilege to operate a motor vehicle in this State has been suspended, the department shall give information in writing of the action taken to the motor vehicle administrator of the state of the person's residence and of any state in which he has a license and shall forward the license to the appropriate state motor vehicle administrator.
(L) A person required to submit to tests by a law enforcement officer must be provided with a written report including the time of the incident, the time of the tests, and the results of the tests. A person administering a test at the request of the defendant shall record in writing the time, method, and results of the test and promptly furnish a copy to the arresting officer.
(M) A person whose driver's license is suspended under this section is not required to file proof of financial responsibility."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect July 1, 1996.