Thursday, August 8, 2013

SLED Breathalyzer data servers back online after lightning strike

DUI suspects back on the hook in court

Posted by Paul Bowers on Thu, Aug 8, 2013 at 5:00 AM

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division's implied consent servers, which contain all of the state's alcohol breath test records and breath test videos, have been turned back on after a lightning strike shut down the servers for just over a month. According to SLED, none of the records or videos were lost.

The Breathalyzer records, which date back to 1991, have been inaccessible since a July 5 lighting strike took the server offline. According to an Associated Press report, officials said lightning might have hit a transformer, causing part of SLED's generator system to fail and making the power supply unstable. As SLED worked to fix the power supply problem, hearings in drunk driving cases had to be postponed for weeks, and some DUI lawyers expressed frustration at how long the repairs were taking. If video evidence had not been restored, some of the DUI cases could have been thrown out due to a state law (56-5-2953) that says that when a person is given a DUI test, the suspect "must have his conduct at the incident site and the breath test site video recorded."

In a press release Wednesday, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said, "We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate the understanding of those within the state's legal community affected while work was underway to correct the unstable power issue."

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