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!




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!


What You Need to Ask a DUI Lawyer


– How long has he/she been practicing and handling DUI’s?
– What percentage of his/her practice is DUI defense?
– Not how many DUI’s has he/she represented but how may has he/she tried?
– Is he/she trained by the NHTSA course of Field Sobriety Testing (FST)?
– Does he/she own a DataMaster machine?  (The machine used by law enforcement in South Carolina to measure alcohol in one’s breath.)
– Is he/she trained on the DataMaster?
– How many books has he/she published on the subject?
– How many articles has he/she published on the subject?
– How many seminars has he/she taught on the subject?
– How many people has he/she taught in their career?
– How much time will he/she put into your case?
– What is his/her Martindale Hubbell rating? AVVO – what do his/her clients say about their representation?
– Does he/she have any law enforcement experience?
– Is he/she a founding member of the National College for DUI Defense?
– Is he/she routinely interviewed by elements of the news media for opinions on DUI legislation and laws?
– And last, but not least, did he/she help write the law?

Click to download a copy of “What You Need to Ask a DUI Lawyer.”