Review of Breath Test Results for Lake Murray BUI Cases

We’ve previously reviewed Datamasster test results from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department. This article now reviews Datamaster results from Bundrick Island, which is where individuals arrested on Lake Murray for Boating Under the Influence (BUI) are taken for breath tests.

Bundrick Island is a law enforcement station maintained by the Department of Natural Resources. It is located close to Sandy Beach. There are two Datamaster DMT machines there. As with all other breath testing machines in South Carolina, they are owned and maintained by SLED.

Here are the numbers:

From January 1, 2016 – August 17, 2016

  • 12 Requested Samples
  • 9 Refusals
  • One sample at 0.13
  • One sample at 0.11
  • One sample at 0.22

From January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2015

  • 12 Requested Samples
  • 7 Refusals
  • One sample at 0.17
  • One sample at 0.04
  • One sample at 0.23
  • One sample at 0.11

Based on the limited number of samples available it isn’t necessary to try to average. It is however notable that of the 24 total requested samples from January 1, 2015 – August 17, 2016, 2/3rd are refusals.

Those arrested for BUI who refuse the breath test are normally issued a notice of boating privilege suspension. The law provides a short time-frame that a petition can be filed to challenge this suspension before the Administrative Law Court. Unlike in the DUI context where hearings are conducted in a more summary fashion before the Office of Motor Vehicle Hearings (OMVH), boating cases get referred for a full administrative hearing.

Those who do provide a sample are not automatically guilty of BUI regardless of the reported blood alcohol content (BAC). For example, in different circumstances someone might be found guilty at 0.06 and not-guilty at 0.18. So the machine’s report is not legally determinative of what the outcome of a contested case would be.

Attorney James Snell has received specific training in the area of BUI defense though his membership in the National College of DUI Defense. This includes his attendance of a seminar on challenging BUI field sobriety testing techniques conducted in 2015 in San Diego, California.

Although BUI may not cause the same headaches with your driver’s license as a DUI charge it is still a criminal offense. As such those convicted may face difficulties with employment related background screenings, as well as loss of boating privileges. As such we encourage everyone who has received a BUI or any other boating related charge to consult with our office before their initial court date.

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