South Carolina Traffic and DUI Legislation Update for 2018


What Changes May Be Coming in 2018 for South Carolina Drivers?

The South Carolina Legislature changes and modifying traffic laws almost every year. For over 25 years Cole Law Firm provides input in the drafting and passage of traffic law legislation.

Your representatives are already beginning to pre-file bills for the 2018 Legislative Session and we’d like to hear from you about suggestions on updating the traffic laws.

Already it appears a few issues will be taken up:

  • Interlock Ignition for Driving Under the Influence – In South Carolina drivers who are convicted of DUI 1st Offense with a Blood Alcohol Content of over a .15 are required to enroll in the interlock ignition program. It appears that  this will apply to all drivers convicted of DUI in the near future. This will be a major consequence for Driving Under the Influence but the IID provides a method for drivers to still commute to their jobs and school.


  • SR-22 Insurance – There is a move to abolish the SR-22 filing fee. There is technically no such “SR-22 Insurance Coverage”, but most insurance companies will drastically increase your premiums to file for this filing fee.

These are some of the major changes in the legislation in South Carolina. Remember that the State Government represents ALL OF US and YOU have a right to be heard. Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page about what changes you would like to see!




South Carolina Datamaster Issues



This week Cole Law Firm challenged the Datamaster result for our client in a DUI trial. We moved to suppress the results and the Court agreed. Today, we’ll cover the Datamaster and some issues the machine may encounter.

So What is the Datamaster?

The Datamaster is a machine that analyzes a person’s breath and determines the amount of ethanol in their breath. It’s a complicated machine but the basic mechanics are this; the Datamaster sends an infrared light through a tube. At the end of the tube is a power meter. Ethanol will absorb certain parts of the light and reduce the power. The machine measures the amount of light lost, and then determines the ethanol amount.

What are Common Datamaster Errors?

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is responsible for maintaining and monitoring all Datamaster’s throughout South Carolina. SLED created regulations for the breath-test procedure that must be followed. If they are not followed, the accuracy of the test can be called into question.

Some of the common errors include.

  1. 20 Minute Observation Period – SLED regulations require a person to be observed for 20 minutes prior to the administration of the test. This is to allow for all mouth alcohol to dissipate. If a test is administered prior to the 20 minute window, the accuracy can be affected.
  2. Reading your Implied Consent Rights – South Carolina Law requires a person to be read the implied consent rights. These rights explain the requirement for taking a breath sample. A person must be read and given a copy of these rights. If this paper is not read and given to the subject, the breath-test result may be suppressed.
  3. Machine Errors – The Datamaster has several code errors that can occur; pump error, sim temp too low, and radio frequency interference are common errors. These can challenge the reliability of the Datamaster reading.


The Datamaster is a complex machine. Cole Law Firm attorneys are trained on the operation of the machine and we have a Datamaster in our office. Understanding how the machine works and common errors are critical when your case is on the line. Cole Law Firm has experienced South Carolina Criminal Defense attorneys that handle DUI cases throughout the Upstate of South Carolina. Contact us today!




South Carolina DUI Conviction and License Consequences for In-State Drivers


South Carolina DUI License Consequences

If you’ve been convicted of DUI or DUAC in South Carolina the DMV will suspend your Driver’s License. The goal of this post is to help you understand how to get your License back. Please remember that this is a broad guide and always consult an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney.

We defend our Clients and aggressively represent them to make sure everyone receives a fair and even trial. If the DUI charge is dismissed, then your license will NOT be suspended.

Step 1: Do you have any prior DUI convictions? 

South Carolina DMV looks back 10 years prior to the incident date of your DUI to determine if you’ve been convicted of any prior DUIs. The DMV checks both In-State and Out of State records. (All 50 states) Any prior DUIs count as a prior conviction and the DMV doesn’t look at what offense of DUI you pled to.

For example: Lets say you pled to a DUI 1st Offense in 2014, and a DUI 1st Offense in 2016. The DMV will calculate you as a DUI 2nd Offender and you will be subject to Interlock Ignition Requirements.

Step 2: Determine your Blood Alcohol Content

The DMV will then look at the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) on the Ticket or Warrant. The DMV looks ONLY at what the BAC was at conviction; they do not look at the initial BAC for license purposes.

Step 3: Calculate your Requirements

  • DUI 1st Offense (No other DUIs within 10 years) AND BAC .14 or below
    • You may be eligible for a Provisional License in South Carolina. This license will allow you to drive unrestricted ONLY in South Carolina. To obtain a provisional license you must:
      • SC Resident
      • Enroll in ADSAP
      • Obtain SR-22 Insurance
      • Pay Reinstatement fee to DMV
  • DUI 1st Offense (No other DUIs within 10 years) AND BAC .15 or above
    • You are NOT eligible for a provisional license.
    • You are required to Obtain an Interlock Ignition Device.
  • DUI 2nd Offense (Any BAC)
    • You are NOT eligible for a provisional license.
    • You are required to Obtain an Interlock Ignition Device.

This is a broad Guide to the consequences of a DUI conviction in South Carolina. Driving Under the Influence is a serious charge and it’s important to consult with an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney.

At the Cole Law Firm we vigorously defend our Clients against the charge of DUI to protect their rights. Each attorney is trained to administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests and the Datamaster Machine. We defend and resolve DUI cases throughout the Upstate including; Greenville, Anderson, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, and Abbeville Counties. Contact us TODAY for a free consultation.


Possession, PWID, and Trafficking: Drug Crimes in South Carolina


Generally speaking, there are three types of drug crimes in South Carolina; possession, possession with intent to distribute, and trafficking. This post will discuss the differences. Possession is the least serious, possession with intent to distribute (PWID) is a felony, and trafficking is also a felony.


Possession comes in many forms; simple possession of marijuana, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession of MDMA, possession of schedule 1 narcotics, and possession of controlled substances are all examples. Possession is the lowest form of a drug crime. Most first offenses of possession are misdemeanors in South Carolina.

Possession can be proven in two forms; actual and constructive. Actual possession is having the drug on your person or in your hand. Constructive possession is a little trickier: do you have domain and control over the substance. Constructive cases tend to come up in cases where a drug is found in a common area of a house or in a car. The State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person intended to possess the controlled substance. Mere presence isn’t enough. However, multiple people can have possession of the same drug.

At Cole Law Firm we have experience dealing with possession cases of all sorts. It’s important to understand what the possible penalties are and whether you were charged wit the correct offense. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

Possession with Intent to Distribute (PWID)

PWID comes in many forms too; marijuana, cocaine, meth, heroin, MDMA, narcotics and so on. The difference is the intent to distribute. PWID is a felony in South Carolina and carries serious penalties. If enhanced to a second or third offense, many carry mandatory jail time. (Example: PWID Meth 2nd offense carries a 5-year mandatory minimum)

PWID can be proven by three general methods: Inference weight, sale of drug to another, or packaging and scales.

Inference weight form meth and cocaine allows PWID to be charged in any case where the meth, cocaine, or heroin weighs more than 1 gram. The jury will be permitted to presume that the substance was for distribution. Now this presumption doesn’t require that the jury convict of PWID. Many heavy users can go through a gram or two in a week of the substance. Attorney’s at Cole Law firm regularly handle these sorts of cases and have obtained reductions to Possession charges. But it’s important to have an experienced attorney who understands what the law requires PWID to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Sale to another simply requires that the person have sold it to another person. The total amount or weight of the drug doesn’t matter. The sale is all that matters. Usually this is done by a sale to a confidential informant.

Packaging and scales allows a jury to infer that the drugs were destined for distribution and not for personal use. Usually this will be proven by multiple individual baggies or having multiple scales to weigh the drugs. Other factors could be the proximity of large amounts of cash or proximity to weapons.


Trafficking in cocaine, marijuana, heroin, or meth is the most serious of the drug offenses in South Carolina. Trafficking carries mandatory jail time and usually is established by the weight of the drug. Once a certain weight is established, the elements for trafficking can be met. Personal use is no defense once a weight is established.



Being charged with a drug crime in South Carolina is a serious matter. It’s important that you consult with an experienced criminal defense firm.

At Cole Law Firm we have experience from handling Simple Possession of Marijuana to Trafficking. We work to vigorously defend your rights and we have experience handling these cases. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.






South Carolina DUI and Interlock Ignition Device (IID)


Today’s we are discussing the consequences of a DUI conviction and Interlock Ignition Requirements in South Carolina. You may be required to install an Interlock Ignition Device for two reasons: (1) A DUI/DUAC conviction or (2) A violation of the Implied Consent Statute and an Administrative Hearing.  We’ll focus on the interlock requirements for a DUI conviction today.

What is an Interlock Ignition Device?

A Interlock Ignition Device is a computer with a breath tube that analyzes the breath-alcohol concentration of a person. This computer is connected to the car’s computer ignition. The IID permits the car to drive. If the IID detects alcohol, it will shut off the car’s ignition. The purpose of the IID is to permit citizens to drive during the time their license would otherwise be suspended during a DUI.

When is an Interlock Ignition Device Required?

DUI 1st Offense when the BAC is a .15 or higher and DUI 2nd, DUI 3rd, and above.

(SC Code 56-5-2941 and 56-5-2990)

How Long is an Interlock Ignition Device Required?

            The short answer is the IID must be on the car for the same length as a suspension would have been.

DUI First Offense

6 Months

DUI Second Offense

2 Years (SC Code 56-5-2990)

DUI Third Offense

4 Years (If DUI 1st Offense was within 5 years) Otherwise 3 years

DUI Fourth Offense


Who Monitors my Interlock Ignition Device?

            Probation, Parole, and Pardon monitors the IID. When a person is ordered by the DMV to obtain an IID, they must report to PPP. PPP will then send the client to one of the three in-state vendors. These vendors will install the IID in your vehicle. PPP and the vendors monitor your IID for tampering and for compliance. PPP conducts a reading every 60 days on the IID to check compliance. More information can be found here.


If you’re arrested for DUI an IID may be a possible punishment. That’s why it’s important to consult with experienced DUI criminal defense attorneys. We at Cole Law Firm proactively and aggressively defend our clients. Contact us for a free consultation regarding your DUI or criminal case.




Winning a South Carolina Administrative Suspension for DUI



This week’s topic is the Administrative Driver’s License Suspension for a DUI arrest in South Carolina. An administrative driver’s license Suspension is different than a driver’s license suspension based on a DUI conviction.

It is important to realize that even if a DUI is DISMISSED, your license may still be suspended for 6 months under an administrative suspension. (SC Code 59-5-2951) It’s key to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to handle BOTH the criminal and administrative side of your DUI arrest.

Cole Law Firm focuses on criminal defense and has successfully represented clients charged with DUI in administrative suspension hearings.


When you’re arrested for DUI in South Carolina the officer will take you to jail and request a breath sample. (They might also request a urine or blood sample). The officer must have probable cause for the arrest and South Carolina law requires that certain breath-test procedures be followed.

South Carolina will suspend your driver’s license if;

  1. You refuse to submit to a breath/blood/urine sample
  2. You register a .15 BAC or higher after submitting a breath/blood/urine sample.

Let’s dig deeper into each one.


When you are arrested for DUI, the officer will request a breath sample. (They may also request a blood or urine sample). If you refuse to give a breath sample, South Carolina will attempt to suspend your license for 6 months.

So should I blow? NO! The 5th Amendment protects your right to remain silent. You are not required to provide any incriminating evidence against yourself. And you do not have to prove yourself innocent by blowing .08. (This issue deserves an entire post alone!)

Registering a .15 BAC or Higher

If you do blow, (which we advise against) and register a .15 or higher the DMV will attempt to suspend your license for 6 months. You may also request an independent test and the officer must provide affirmative assistance to help you get a second test. This is usually a hospital that will draw your blood.


The first step is to act fast and consult with an experienced upstate criminal defense attorney about your case. You only have 30 days from you arrest to challenge the suspension. Your suspension begins the day you are arrested.

Once Cole Law Firm is hired, we will request an administrative hearing to contest the DMV’s suspension. This has two benefits

  1. Temporary Alcohol License – Once we request a hearing, you are eligible for a Temporary Alcohol License. (TAL) A TAL permits you to drive in South Carolina only, but without any other restrictions while your hearing is pending. It usually takes around one week from retaining us to receive the TAL.
  1. Rescinding the Administrative Suspension – At your administrative hearing, an experienced DUI attorney will contest the State’s suspension. There are two issues; Probable cause for the arrest and the administration of the breath test. Cole Law Firm has handled hundreds of these hearings and will defend your rights. It’s important to hire an experienced attorney who knows what the issues are and how to defend you.

If you don’t challenge the administrative suspension, you face a minimum of a 6-month suspension. You’ll also be required to attend ADSAP and pay a $100 reinstatement fee. This suspension is also CONSECUTIVE to any other suspensions. So if you refuse and are convicted of a DUI, you’ll have two separate suspensions! You cannot do both suspensions at the same time.

We’ve represented hundreds of clients at these hearings, and Cole Law Firm has experience in challenging the State on the issues. Remember that the administrative suspension is entirely separate from the DUI arrest! Your DUI could be dismissed the day you’re released from jail, but if you don’t do anything about your administrative suspension you will lose your license for 6 months.


Broad Strokes: DUI Law Overview from Experienced Greenville and Anderson Criminal Defense Attorneys


A DUI arrest is a serious criminal charge, and you’ll need experienced criminal defense attorneys.

Here at Cole Law Firm, our attorneys proactively work to resolve your criminal charges in an effective manner.Call us to schedule your FREE consultation regarding your criminal case.

We represent clients in the Upstate of South Carolina; including Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Laurens, Pickens, Oconee, and Abbeville Counties.


DUI Arrest Requirements

Here is a very broad overview of some of the requirements of a DUI arrest;

Road-Side Video – South Carolina law requires that all DUI arrests be video-recorded. The purpose of the law is the help the jury; because an in-car video from a DUI arrest provides objective evidence of intoxication. Any standard field sobriety tests must be video recorded. Each attorney at Cole Law Firm is trained in the administration of standard field sobriety tests. It’s important that your criminal defense attorney know how to administer field sobriety tests because if the test is incorrectly administered, it could lead to a false positive.


Exceptions to Road-Side Video: South Carolina law excepts the video requirement in certain cases. These exceptions have been established by Statute and Case Law. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys study and monitor these exceptions closely to make sure the client’s rights are protected.


DataMaster Room Video – Once taken to the jail, the officer will record the administration of Datamaster breath device. South Carolina DUI law requires a protocol to be followed. Here at Cole Law Firm, we’ve developed a checklist to make sure the officer follows protocol and that the client’s rights under the law are protected. Each of our attorneys and staff are trained in the theory and operation of the Datamaster machine. To effectively cross-examine an officer about faulty breath tests your attorney must know how the machine works!

Consequences of DUI Conviction

Simply being CHARGED (not convicted) of DUI can have major consequences! If a client refuses to blow or blows above a.14 BAC their license may be suspended. Furthermore, they may be required to place an interlock-ignition tube on their vehicle. And that’s before the criminal charge is even resolved.


Here at Cole Law Firm, we focus and practice in the complex area in criminal defense of DUI law. Who you choose to represent you in your criminal charge is important. Be proactive and take control of your case! Call us to schedule your FREE consultation regarding your criminal case.


Next week we’ll discuss the difference between an administrative suspension and a criminal conviction. See y’all then!


Welcome to Cole Law Firm’s New Criminal Defense Blog!


Hello and welcome! We’ve started a blog to update the community about criminal defense law. Our blog will mostly cover DUI, domestic violence, and drug law. We’ll also be discussing the impact that criminal charges can have on a client’s driver’s license.


Each week we’ll post a brief article about a certain area of the law. Sometimes it will be a broad overview, and other times we’ll discuss the in-depth subject of a particular area of law.


We’ve also got to get some “legal language” requirements out of the way. First, nothing on this blog is construed as legal advice. We’re providing a broad summary of legal topics. If you need specific criminal defense legal help, give us a call!


Cole Law Firm’s Newest Publications


Cole DUI Consumer Guide

This is a copy of one of Cole Law Firm’s newest publications. It’s a sort of “consumer guide” for those who have been charged with DUI or who know someone who has been charged with DUI. Free copies are available to anyone who stops by our office at 1303 Ella Street, Anderson, SC.

Cole Crime eBook

Another “consumer guide” from Cole Law Firm. This gives an overview of what one can expect if charged with a criminal offense in South Carolina. As always, if you need more information, your initial consultation is free.


Free Consultations


Many lawyers and law firms advertise free consultations. We do too. The difference with us is…..

At the Cole Law Firm, we never EVER charge for a second or even third consultation. We want you to feel at ease, and we want you to understand what issues are facing you and your case.

Contact Cole Law Firm TODAY to schedule your first FREE CONSULTATION.

Remember: Friends Don’t Let Innocent Friends Plead Guilty