DUI Law Works As Designed
If you have any doubts that South Carolina DUI law works as designed you need only look at the case of former director of the Transportation Department, Robert St. Onge.
St. Onge was arrested in January 2014 by a Lexington County sheriff’s deputy after he was observed driving erratically on I-20. Field sobriety tests were administered by a state trooper and St. Onge was hooked up and taken in for a required breath test. He blew a .20 on that test. The limit in South Carolina is .08.
As you can see from the records in Lexington County, all traces of the DUI have been removed and the ticket was re-written as Reckless Driving.
The record also states St. Onge was found guilty of reckless driving after a bench trial. This is not accurate. Various news outlets are reporting the DUI was dismissed and St. Onge copped a plea to reckless driving after defense attorney Joe McCulloch “pointed out problems with the case”. McCulloch claimed there was no video of the deputy’s interaction with St. Onge prior to the arrival of the trooper who administered the FST’s. This in spite of the fact that the FST’s were apparently recorded as required by law. It won’t be too much longer before some judge decides you can’t be charged with DUI unless the police began their video surveillance of you before you left your home in the morning. Below is a still image from that recording.
McCulloch further stated there were problems leading up the arrest and the field sobriety tests and problem with the breathalyzer machine, which had apparently malfunctioned in the past, but seemed to work great when St. Onge blew into it. We sure hope SLED has removed that machine and destroyed it, as well as every other breathalyzer machine that has ever had a recorded malfunction or minor maintenance issue.
St. Onge tried to play the politics card with the deputy after he was stopped. You can watch the full video from the trooper’s camera.
We can see the issue McCulloch is talking about. When conducting the horizontal gaze nystagmus (eye) test, the trooper has St. Onge positioned with his back to the camera. Thanks to a ruling by an idiot judge with political connections, the eyes have to be fully visible on the video during the test, even though the video is never of sufficient quality to actually see the results of the test. By that caveat alone, all DUI cases should be dismissed out of hand.
And these are the judges and legislators who want to send you to jail if you ever have the temerity to file a complaint on them.
To St. Onge’s credit, he resigned his position the day after he was arrested, unlike some other politicians recently in the news.
We have to give kudos to those few legislators trying to change the DUI laws and do away with the loopholes inserted therein by DUI lawyers who wrote the law and their pals on the bench who set precedence with ridiculous decisions and demands on police officers. That being said, we will continue to call out DUI lawyers like Paul Thurmond who, like Joe McCulloch, make thousands of dollars getting DUI charges dismissed. The only difference between the two is McCulloch failed to win his recent bid for a seat in the legislature while Thurmond sits up there and tells you the DUI law is just fine. At least it is working for him! Cha-Ching!
So, what have we learned about DUI laws in recent weeks?
First, avoid DUI altogether and smoke weed before driving instead of drinking. That is a guaranteed dismissal, even if you almost kill or paralyze someone. We have learned that driving while stoned is the equivalent of careless driving, which doesn’t even put any points on your license.
Second, the offense of DUI is just another money making opportunity for the bottom feeders among us and the only folks who seem to take it seriously are those making the arrests while trying to comply with a ridiculous law and convoluted precedence set by politically connected judges. Oh, and the people who have had loved ones seriously injured or killed by a DUI driver. But, hey, none of those folks matter as long as certain folks can make a dollar.
All you little people with no connections should just shut the hell up before your legislators have you thrown you in jail.