2020 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 56 - Motor Vehicles
Chapter 5 - Uniform Act Regulating Traffic On Highways
Section 56-5-2950. Implied consent to testing for alcohol or drugs; procedures; inference of DUI.
(A) A person who drives a motor vehicle in this State is considered to have given consent to chemical tests of the person's breath, blood, or urine for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol, drugs, or the combination of alcohol and drugs, if arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. A breath test must be administered at the direction of a law enforcement officer who has arrested a person for driving a motor vehicle in this State while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs. At the direction of the arresting officer, the person first must be offered a breath test to determine the person's alcohol concentration. If the person is physically unable to provide an acceptable breath sample because the person has an injured mouth, is unconscious or dead, or for any other reason considered acceptable by the licensed medical personnel, the arresting officer may request a blood sample to be taken. If the officer has reasonable suspicion that the person is under the influence of drugs other than alcohol, or is under the influence of a combination of alcohol and drugs, the officer may order that a urine sample be taken for testing. A breath sample taken for testing must be collected within two hours of the arrest. Any additional tests to collect other samples must be collected within three hours of the arrest. The breath test must be administered by a person trained and certified by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy, pursuant to SLED policies. Before the breath test is administered, an eight one-hundredths of one percent simulator test must be performed and the result must reflect a reading between 0.076 percent and 0.084 percent. Blood and urine samples must be obtained by physicians licensed by the State Board of Medical Examiners, registered nurses licensed by the State Board of Nursing, and other medical personnel trained to obtain the samples in a licensed medical facility. Blood and urine samples must be obtained and handled in accordance with procedures approved by SLED.
(B) No tests may be administered or samples obtained unless, upon activation of the video recording equipment and prior to the commencement of the testing procedure, the person has been given a written copy of and verbally informed that:
(1) the person does not have to take the test or give the samples, but that the person's privilege to drive must be suspended or denied for at least six months with the option of ending the suspension if the person enrolls in the Ignition Interlock Device Program, if the person refuses to submit to the test, and that the person's refusal may be used against the person in court;
(2) the person's privilege to drive must be suspended for at least one month with the option of ending the suspension if the person enrolls in the Ignition Interlock Device Program, if the person takes the test or gives the samples and has an alcohol concentration of fifteen one-hundredths of one percent or more;
(3) the person has the right to have a qualified person of the person's own choosing conduct additional independent tests at the person's expense;
(4) the person has the right to request a contested case hearing within thirty days of the issuance of the notice of suspension; and
(5) if the person does not request a contested case hearing or if the person's suspension is upheld at the contested case hearing, the person shall enroll in an Alcohol and Drug Safety Action Program.
(C) A hospital, physician, qualified technician, chemist, or registered nurse who obtains the samples or conducts the test or participates in the process of obtaining the samples or conducting the test in accordance with this section is not subject to a cause of action for assault, battery, or another cause alleging that the drawing of blood or taking samples at the request of the arrested person or a law enforcement officer was wrongful. This release from liability does not reduce the standard of medical care required of the person obtaining the samples or conducting the test. This qualified release also applies to the employer of the person who conducts the test or obtains the samples.
(D) The person tested or giving samples for testing may have a qualified person of the person's own choosing conduct additional tests at the person's expense and must be notified in writing of that right. A person's request or failure to request additional blood or urine tests is not admissible against the person in the criminal trial. The failure or inability of the person tested to obtain additional tests does not preclude the admission of evidence relating to the tests or samples obtained at the direction of the law enforcement officer.
(E) The arresting officer shall provide affirmative assistance to the person to contact a qualified person to conduct and obtain additional tests. Affirmative assistance, at a minimum, includes providing transportation for the person to the nearest medical facility which performs blood tests to determine a person's alcohol concentration. If the medical facility obtains the blood sample but refuses or fails to test the blood sample to determine the person's alcohol concentration, SLED shall test the blood sample and provide the result to the person and to the arresting officer. Failure to provide affirmative assistance upon request to obtain additional tests bars the admissibility of the breath test result in a judicial or administrative proceeding.
SLED shall administer the provisions of this subsection and shall make regulations necessary to carry out this subsection's provisions. The costs of the tests administered at the direction of the law enforcement officer must be paid from the state's general fund. However, if the person is subsequently convicted of violating Section 56-5-2930, 56-5-2933, or 56-5-2945, then, upon conviction, the person shall pay twenty-five dollars for the costs of the tests. The twenty-five dollars must be placed by the Comptroller General into a special restricted account to be used by the State Law Enforcement Division to offset the costs of administration of the breath testing devices, breath testing site video program, and toxicology laboratory.
(F) A qualified person who obtains samples or administers the tests or assists in obtaining samples or the administration of tests at the direction of a law enforcement officer is released from civil and criminal liability unless the obtaining of samples or tests is performed in a negligent, reckless, or fraudulent manner. No person may be required by the arresting officer, or by another law enforcement officer, to obtain or take any sample of blood or urine.
(G) In the criminal prosecution for a violation of Section 56-5-2930, 56-5-2933, or 56-5-2945 the alcohol concentration at the time of the test, as shown by chemical analysis of the person's breath or other body fluids, gives rise to the following:
(1) if the alcohol concentration was at that time five one-hundredths of one percent or less, it is conclusively presumed that the person was not under the influence of alcohol;
(2) if the alcohol concentration was at that time in excess of five one-hundredths of one percent but less than eight one-hundredths of one percent, this fact does not give rise to any inference that the person was or was not under the influence of alcohol, but this fact may be considered with other evidence in determining the guilt or innocence of the person; or
(3) if the alcohol concentration was at that time eight one-hundredths of one percent or more, it may be inferred that the person was under the influence of alcohol.
The provisions of this section must not be construed as limiting the introduction of any other evidence bearing upon the question of whether or not the person was under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of alcohol and drugs.
(H) A person who is unconscious or otherwise in a condition rendering the person incapable of refusal is considered to be informed and not to have withdrawn the consent provided by subsection (A) of this section.
(I) A person required to submit to tests by the arresting law enforcement officer must be provided with a written report including the time of arrest, the time of the tests, and the results of the tests before any trial or other proceeding in which the results of the tests are used as evidence. A person who obtains additional tests shall furnish a copy of the time, method, and results of such tests to the officer before a trial, hearing, or other proceeding in which the person attempts to use the results of the additional tests as evidence.
(J) Policies, procedures, and regulations promulgated by SLED may be reviewed by the trial judge or hearing officer on motion of either party. The failure to follow policies, procedures, and regulations, or the provisions of this section, shall result in the exclusion from evidence of any test results, if the trial judge or hearing officer finds that this failure materially affected the accuracy or reliability of the test results or the fairness of the testing procedure and the court trial judge or hearing officer rules specifically as to the manner in which the failure materially affected the accuracy or reliability of the test results or the fairness of the procedure.
(K) If a state employee charged with the maintenance of breath testing devices in this State and the administration of breath testing policy is required to testify at a contested case hearing or court proceeding, the entity employing the witness may charge a reasonable fee to the defendant for such services.
HISTORY: 1962 Code Section 46-344; 1952 Code Section 46-344; 1949 (46) 466; 1969 (56) 395; 1987 Act No. 95 Section 9; 1987 Act No. 179 Section 2; 1988 Act No. 348; 1988 Act No. 616; 1993 Act No. 181, Section 1420; 1994 Act No. 497, Part II, Section 36T; 1998 Act No. 434, Section 7; 2000 Act No. 390, Section 14; 2003 Act No. 61, Section 6; 2008 Act No. 201, Section 9, eff February 10, 2009; 2014 Act No. 158 (S.137), Section 13, eff October 1, 2014.