Man Charged with DUI after Driving to Police Station

Louisiana Man Drives Drunk to Police Station to File DUI Accident Report

shutterstock_205097377A Louisiana resident has been arrested on DUI charges after driving drunk to a police station to file an accident report.

According to authorities, Patrick Ruffner, 31, called the police on Saturday around 3 AM after he was involved in a hit-and-run crash in Baton Rouge. As the victim of the crash, police told Ruffner to go to Troop A Headquarters to file an official report.

However, when Ruffner arrived at the station, Trooper Jared Sandifer noticed that the man smelled of alcohol, and issued a Breathalyzer and field sobriety test. When Ruffner failed the field sobriety test, he admitted that he had been drinking before the crash.

Additionally, Ruffner’s license was suspended for a previous incident, which was not a DUI charge.

Sandifer booked Ruffner at the police station for driving with a suspended license, and first offense DUI.

Breathalyzer Test Results As Evidence in South Carolina DUI Case

Officers often use breathalyzers to establish probable cause in order to bring DUI suspects in for blood testing at a local hospital. While many experts have concerns about the accuracy of breathalyzers, they are used frequently when officers stop DUI suspects. However, police officers must follow a specific procedure to administer the test.

For South Carolina, “a breathalyzer” actually refers to a DataMaster unit, which measures blood alcohol via infrared wave readings of breath samples. These units are maintained by SLED at approved breath testing sites across South Carolina.

The accuracy of a DataMaster breathalyzer depends on the unit, the timing of the testing and the testing process for the suspected motorist. Plus, there are procedural steps such as videotaping a breathalyzer test, which if omitted, can weaken the prosecuter’s ability to use it as evidence.

Breathalyzer Testing in South Carolina MUST Include …

  • The machine must be properly maintained and in working order.
  • The testing operator must comply with a 20-minute observation period before testing. This 20-minute period should be recorded on videotape. The purpose of this procedure is to rule out a false reading. If the suspected motorist had a drink just prior to testing, the reading will not be reliable.
  • The collection of breath sample must be taken within two hours of arrest.
  • The test administrator is required to be trained and certified by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.
  • The suspected motorist must be informed of a right to refuse a breathalyzer.
  • Before a breath test is administered, a simulator test must be performed on the DataMaster with a result between 0.076 percent and 0.084 percent.
  • Maintenance records on the specific DataMaster must be made available by SLED upon request.

The motorist being tested must be notified in writing that he or she has the right to select a qualified person of choice to conduct additional tests. The arresting officer must provide “affirmative assistance” for this endeavor or else any police-administered breath test will become inadmissible.

Hire a DUI Lawyer to Challenge Your Breathalyzer Test

The criminal defense lawyers at the Strom Law Firm, LLC provide a free consultation to discuss the facts of a DUI case. Founded by a former U.S. Attorney, the team at Strom Law also includes a former Public Defender, and a former Assistant Attorney General and Richland County Assistant Solicitor. It’s awarded the highest Martindale-Hubble ranking and collectively holds more than 50 years of complex litigation experience. Contact us today for help with your DUI case. 803.252.4800

About Pete Strom

Defending criminal charges including drug crimes, DUI, CDV, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, computer crimes, money laundering, and juvenile crimes, Pete also handles Federal and State investigations. Representing individuals in Civil Matters including Class Actions, Personal Injury, Qui Tam Actions, Defective Products, Nursing Home Neglect, and Professional Licensing Defense cases. Joseph Preston “Pete” Strom, Jr., the managing partner at Strom Law Firm, L.L.C., has been fighting for justice since 1984.

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