Mother Charged with “Drunk Driving:” What is “Materially and Appreciably Impaired” in South Carolina?
Rock Hill, SC police report that a mother was charged with drunk driving after her 11-year-old daughter called them and reported that her mom was swerving and almost hit two cars on her way home from a restaurant.
She was charged with Driving Under the Influence and Child Endangerment, and reported to the police that she had several beers earlier that day, finishing the evening with two margaritas at the restaurant. She was being held in York County and was released on a $2500 bond.
A DUI charge in South Carolina can initiate a hefty fine or even imprisonment. Under S.C. Code Ann. §56-5-2930:
(A) “It is unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle within this State while under the influence of alcohol to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired, under the influence of any other drug or a combination of other drugs or substances which cause impairment to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired, or under the combined influence of alcohol and any other drug or drugs or substances which cause impairment to the extent that the person’s faculties to drive a motor vehicle are materially and appreciably impaired. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of the offense of driving under the influence and, upon conviction; entry of a plea of guilty or of nolo contendere, or forfeiture of bail must be punished as follows:
(1) for a first offense, by a fine of four hundred dollars or imprisonment for not less than forty-eight hours nor more than thirty days. However, in lieu of the forty-eight hour minimum imprisonment, the court may provide for forty-eight hours of public service employment.
(2) “For a second offense, by a fine of not less than two thousand one hundred dollars nor more than five thousand one hundred dollars, and imprisonment for not less than five days nor more than one year.
(3) for a third offense, by a fine of not less than three thousand eight hundred dollars nor more than six thousand three hundred dollars, and imprisonment for not less than sixty days nor more than three years.
However, if you add Child Endangerment to the DUI charges, the fines and potential imprisonment terms increase. Upon conviction the person must be punished by: (A) a fine of not more than one-half of the maximum fine allowed for committing the violation enumerated in subsection (A)(1), when the person is fined for that offense;
(B) a term of imprisonment of not more than one-half of the maximum term of imprisonment allowed for committing the violation enumerated in subsection (A)(1), when the person is imprisoned for the offense; or
(C) both a fine and imprisonment as prescribed in items (1) and (2) when the person is fined and imprisoned for the offense.
Therefore, when a person is driving under the influence, their charges can increase exponentially if there is a child in the vehicle. Also, the potential for a collision is much greater. This may even increase the charge to Child Endangerment to Vehicular Manslaughter if a child in the car is killed. A charge of Vehicular Manslaughter increases the charge of DUI to a Felony DUI.
If you or a loved one has been charged with DUI or another alcohol related offense, make sure to call people who can help you try to mitigate the charges. The law offices of Reeves Aiken & Hightower, LLP can help you. You can give us a call at our Baxter Village, South Carolina office at 803-548-4444, or toll-free at 877-374-5999. Getting behind the wheel of a vehicle while intoxicated can have some serious repercussions, and we want to make sure you can get your life back on the right path.