May 5th, 2017 Posted by
Tags: Car Accidents, Charleston SC, Legal Advice, Mark Peper, Texting
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with new laws that affect our everyday lives; that’s where lawyers can be helpful! It’s our job to know what the current laws are to keep you safe.
Studies say distracted driving is just as dangerous a drinking four beers and driving a car. While some cities and counties realized this long ago and already had ordinances on the book, it took the State of South Carolina a bit longer to realize the need for a law specifically addressing texting while driving.
In 2014, Gov. Nikki Haley signed Senate Bill 459 dictating the penalties and definition for “Unlawful use of a wireless electronic communication device while operating a motor vehicle”. A driver’s first offense for texting while driving is a $25 penalty and any subsequent offense is $50. Dialing and talking on the phone are not banned under the new law.
If convicted, the law prevents the violation from being reported to the DMV, SLED, or the driver’s insurance provider.
Like all other moving violations, the officer must have “probable cause that a violation has occurred based on the officer’s clear and unobstructed view of a person who is using a wireless electronic communication device to compose, send, or read a text-based communication while operating a motor vehicle on the public streets and highways of this State” to pull your car over. At court, the officer is required to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and the officer cannot confiscate your phone to meet this burden of proof. Also of note, the officer cannot search your car without your consent based solely on the fact that this violation occurred.
The dangers of texting while driving can lead to a time-consuming court date, not to mention, a severe injury to yourself or others. To legally text in your car, the vehicle must be stopped or parked.
If you have any more questions, feel free to call me at (843) 225-2520 or email firstname.lastname@example.org