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South Carolina politician pleads guilty to drunken driving in NY

Last month, former South Carolina politician Thomas Ravenel pleaded guilty to a charge of drunk-driving in New York in connection with an arrest last July. Ravenel was reportedly arrested after police witnessed him driving on the shoulder and crossing a double yellow line.

In addition to a $1,400 fine, Ravenel will have his driver’s license suspended for six months, and will be required to install an ignition interlock device on vehicles he drives in the state of New York for one year. Sources say there are also penalties for Ravenel in South Carolina in connection with the incident.

Some sources said that Ravenel failed several field sobriety tests and turned down a Breathalyzer test. The latter, of course, is not usually a smart move during a DUI arrest. Other sources say he did actually take a Breathalyzer test, which showed his blood alcohol content to be .09, above the legal limit of .08.

Refusing to take a preliminary breath test is usually not a good idea, as some of our readers may know. Choosing not to take a breath test does not mean police will not ultimately gather enough evidence to support criminal charges. In fact, refusal can give rise to the presumption that the defendant was knowingly drunk. In addition, refusal results in automatic revocation of one’s driver’s license and fines.

Usually, the best thing for a drunk driving to do upon being stopped is to comply with officer’s requests. Inaccurate testing, misconduct, illegal searches and failure to abide by police protocol are best handled after the fact in building a solid criminal defense case.

Sources: The Post and Courier, “Thomas Ravenel will have S.C. license suspended for 6 months following DWI conviction in New York,” Natalie Caula Hauff, March 28, 2014.

Huffington Post, “Thomas Ravenel DUI: Ex-Soth Carolina Treasurer Arrested, Plans To Fight Charges,” Meg Kinnard, July 23, 2014.