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Man faces drunk driving charge after hitting power pole

Driving while intoxicated is not ideal, as alcohol and drugs can impair a person's judgment. Intoxication can lead to not only injuries, but property damage as well.

A Columbia man found this out the hard way after he hit a power pole while driving drunk. The incident occurred just before midnight on the evening of June 10 at the intersection of Harden and Bull streets. Police investigated the scene and charged the 43-year-old man with drunk driving. His blood alcohol content level was alleged to be nearly double the legal limit, which is .08 in the state.

The accident resulted in the traffic lights at the intersection to be without power. The severe damage caused the closure of traffic lanes while crews repaired the damage.

The penalties for a DUI charge are far-reaching. Most DUI charges are misdemeanors, but a person can be charged with a felony if the person has multiple prior offenses or if his or her intoxication led to serious injury or death of another person.

Penalties often include driver's license suspension, as well as hefty fines. In some cases, jail time may be imposed. Judges typically have discretion in what types of punishment they can hand down to the offender. Community service or attending a substance abuse treatment program are examples of other possible penalties. In some cases, an ignition interlock device may be installed on the person's car. This device acts like a Breathalyzer test and prohibits a person from driving if they are drunk.

A DUI charge can also affect a person's chances of employment. Some professions, particularly those that involve driving, refuse to hire applicants with DUI charges. Because the possible consequences can be severe and life altering, it is important that a driver charged with drunk driving seek to defend the charges. The charges could be reduced if it is their first offense. In addition, if tests were not properly conducted, the driver's BAC could be found inadmissible. This could result in the charges being dropped.

Every defendant is entitled to a strong defense, and drivers facing charges should seek to mitigate the charges or have them dropped by constructing a defense. This may result in contacting a professional to guide them through the process and provide the driver with various options.

Source: WLTX, "Driver Charged with DUI After Car Hits Pole," Tony Santaella, June 11, 2013

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