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Are you familiar with Emma’s Law in South Carolina?

If you have been charged with driving under the influence for the first time, you should first seek legal help. It is also helpful to understand Emma’s Law, which was signed by Governor Haley in 2014. The law sets out requirements for the use of ignition interlock devices. Learn what you should expect.

About Emma’s Law

Every year in South Carolina, around 30,000 drivers are charged with DUI, and after 6-year-old Emma Longstreet was killed by a drunk driver in 2012, Emma’s Law was named in her honor. It requires first-time offenders who are charged with a breath alcohol concentration level of .15 percent or over to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles for a period of six months.

How the program works

The IID is a small device that attaches to a vehicle’s ignition system. When you get behind the wheel, you must breathe into it, and if the device registers that no alcohol is present, the vehicle will start. You must participate in the IID program. In fact, if you have a suspended license and a DUI offense date on or after October 1, 2014, you must complete the program successfully to have your license restored. 

How the amendment affects you

The amendment to Emma’s Law passed by the South Carolina General Assembly in 2015 established strict penalties for participating in two actions while in the IID program. First, you cannot tamper with the interlock device or cover the lens of the camera that is attached. Second, you cannot allow another person—one who presumably has not indulged in drinking alcohol—to breathe into the device on your behalf. 

What happens after you are pulled over

At the time you are pulled over for DUI, the officer will issue a temporary driver’s license, which will only be good for 10 days, after which you will be under driving suspension. If you are found guilty of a first offense, you would be looking at a six-month suspension, up to $1,000 in fines and even possible jail time. Keep in mind that you can challenge your case within the 10-day window.

You will want a lawyer who is thoroughly up to date on Emma’s Law and who is very successful in representing clients like you who have been charged with driving under the influence. Contact attorney Adam Young, who will work diligently to obtain the best outcome possible for your case.

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