Effective + Efficient + Experienced

Wrongful DUI Charge from an Untrained Officer Affords Columbia Professor $200,075 in Damages

Police have no doubt been under more scrutiny in recent years as more and more cases concerning wrongful arrests and improperly trained officers come to the public’s attention. Another of these cases was settled this year in Columbia, South Carolina. Darris Hassell, an esteemed professor and coach at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster, was awarded $200,075 by a jury for his suit alleging false arrest, malicious prosecution, and negligent supervision, according to a recent article by The State. Hassell was arrested for DUI charges in Columbia in 2014 despite there being no evidence of his intoxication and even after a breathalyzer test showed his blood alcohol content to be 0.0.

Hassell asserts that his arrest was due to a lack of training on the part of the officer and that the arrest “could have happened to anybody.” When Hassell was initially pulled over for making what the officer asserted was an illegal turn, the officer then claimed that he could smell alcohol on Hassell despite the fact that Hassell “never drinks.” The officer then proceeded to force Hassell to complete a series of field sobriety tests while referencing an instruction book about how to perform the very tests he was administering. The officer then asserted that Hassell had failed the tests, and proceeded to arrest him and take him to the police station where he blew the 0.0 on a breathalyzer. Still convinced of Hassell’s inebriation, the officer took Hassell to a local hospital, taking him directly through the emergency room before calling his supervisor to ask how to take a urine sample for drug testing. The urine test later went missing, along with the police dashcam video of the arrest.

Hassell spent 16 hours in jail following his arrest and had his DUI charges dropped after asking for a trial by jury for his charges. Although happy to have the charges dropped, Hassell still felt the entire process was a wrong and needless ordeal that should be corrected. The jury only took 41 minutes to decide his case and Hassell believes they added the extra $75 for the fee he had to pay to get his car out of impound after he was released. Hassell is pleased that the legal system worked the way it is meant to and that justice was served, although he thinks the whole ordeal paints the city he loves in a bad light.

Contact Us

If you are currently facing DUI charges, wrongful or otherwise, a skilled criminal defense attorney is your best option to get your charges dropped or reduced. DUI charges can have serious consequences, such as jail time, hefty fines, and the loss of your license, and should be treated with the gravity they deserve. Do not let your life be any further affected by this charge, and contact Truslow & Truslow at (803) 256-6276 to set up an appointment with one of our skilled Columbia DUI criminal defense attorneys or to have any questions you may have answered.


Regardless of Sobriety, DUI Offenders Face Stigma

It’s no secret that a DUI conviction can have seriously detrimental and long-lasting effects on a person’s life. When an individual is found guilty of driving under the influence, their personal and professional life is often jeopardized. The stigma that comes along with a DUI conviction can be harsh, as our society likes to circulate damaging mugshots and define people by their mistakes and darkest moments. The sad truth is that this stigma is also placed onto the people who have only been arrested for a DUI, whether the arrest was justified or not.

After decades of aggressive police enforcement, the rate of arrests for drunk driving has decreased significantly, while arrests for drugged driving, on the other hand, have increased. Unfortunately, innocent people are arrested every year for a DUI crime that they did not commit. These false arrests occur most commonly with charges of drugged driving, as the police have no concrete way of testing the driver for these substances. The rate of false arrests for driving under the influence is a topic that has yet to receive much media attention, but incidents in Cobb County, Georgia have recently shed some light on this issue.

Cobb County police officer Tracy Carroll has been dubbed the “drug whisperer” for his staggering number of drugged driving arrests. Officer Carroll, along with about 250 other police officers in Georgia, is a trained “drug recognition expert,” meaning he has completed a course that provides officers with a dozen observations that allow them not only to pronounce a driver is under the influence of drugs, but also to identify which drugs are in their system. Carroll has received numerous awards for his many DUI arrests, but many of these arrests have proven to be unwarranted. On at least three occasions, Carroll has pulled over drivers for swerving, and ended up arresting the drivers for being under the influence of marijuana. In these cases, the officer did not need any concrete proof of the driver being impaired, such as the smell or presence of the drug, but is legally allowed to rely on his drug recognition training. These individuals, who were in fact sober, were arrested for DUI and were forced to spend the night in jail, hire a lawyer, and suffer through months of financial and job-related stress from the false arrest. The charges were eventually dropped, but that does not in any way erase the troubles and stigma that these people faced for many months.

Contact an Attorney

When police officers are rewarded for high arrest rates, it is not surprising that false arrests will occur. Unfortunately, the victims of false arrests are unfairly subjected to the harsh and critical stigma that society often places on criminals. If you are facing DUI charges for any reason, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Truslow & Truslow. Our legal team will do everything we can to protect and defend your rights. To speak to an experienced DUI lawyer, contact our offices today by calling (803) 256-6276.


Amnesty Week Helps SC Drivers with Suspended Licenses

This Monday marked the first day of Driver Suspension Eligibility Week in South Carolina. Also known as amnesty week, March 13 through 17 offers drivers with suspended licenses a viable option to get back on the road. During amnesty week, drivers with certain license suspensions could be eligible to have their licenses reinstated. According to the South Carolina DMV, the following types of suspensions might qualify for eligibility:

  • Excessive points for someone under the age of 18
  • Operating an unlicensed taxi
  • Operating an uninsured vehicle that they did not own
  • Operating or allowing someone else to operate an uninsured vehicle
  • Driving under suspension, excluding alcohol or drug related convictions

If you fall under one of these categories, head to the DMV this week to see if you can get your license suspension cleared or reduced. Especially if one bad mistake caused your license to be suspended, this week could be a great opportunity to get you back on track. Even if your license suspension is not eligible for amnesty week, a qualified Columbia attorney could be able to help you have your suspension revoked. At Truslow & Truslow, we protect people who are facing the negative consequences of a single mistake. Contact us at (803) 256-6276 to see what we can do for you.


University professor facing DUI charges in SC

A DUI charge was recently filed against a professor at Clemson Sandhills Extension facility after he was observed driving erratically in Kershaw County, South Carolina, an article of The State reported on December 12.

According to reports, a deputy noticed the vehicle driven by 52-year-old Ronald David Lamie to be traveling erratically, nearing the median lane in Lugoff on December 8. Apprehending authorities detected a strong alcoholic odor from Lamie’s vehicle and confirmed his intoxication after he failed to pass a sobriety test. Sheriff Jim Matthews said the vehicle driven by Lamie was owned by the state. While in custody, authorities detected a 0.15 percent BAC from Lamie after a breathalyzer test. The Applied Economics and Statistics Associate Professor was later discharged from custody after authorities determined he was sober.

If you have been charged with a DUI, working with an attorney is important, especially if this offense is your first. Discuss your situation with the Truslow & Truslow attorneys in Columbia today by calling (803) 256-6276 to learn more about your options.


NFL’s Michael Floyd facing DUI charges in Arizona

At least two counts of driving a vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants (DUI) charges were recently filed against professional football player Michael Floyd in Arizona. The charges came after authorities found him sleeping inside his vehicle, an article of CBS Sports reported on December 12.

Apparently, the incident occurred shortly after the Arizona Cardinals, Floyd’s team, lost to the Miami Dolphins. At 2:48 in the morning, the 27-year-old was found by authorities slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle with the engine still running. Scottsdale Police took Floyd into custody and handed him two DUI charges, one charge for neglecting an officer, and another charge for obstructing the road. Floyd is scheduled for a court hearing and may be suspended for two games if he is found guilty of the charges.

The defense attorneys at Truslow & Truslow in Columbia understand that facing DUI charges is frustrating because it can negatively affect your ability to earn an income. However, if you are charged with a DUI, we will tirelessly represent you to make sure you get the best outcome from your case. Call us today at (803) 256-6276 to learn more about your options.


Teenager killed in Rock Hill motorcycle accident

South Carolina Highway Patrol authorities recently confirmed a teenager succumbed to her injuries in Rock Hill after she and another person were involved in a motorcycle accident, a November 4 article of The Herald stated.

The fatality was identified as Heaven Gordon. According to the county’s coroner, she was pronounced dead at the crash scene. Lance Corporal Gary Miller told reports that at about 7:20 p.m. on November 3, a motorcycle, on which Gordon was a passenger, lost control while heading eastbound on Neely Store Road. Gordon and the motorcycle driver, identified as a 21-year-old man, were reportedly thrown from the vehicle. A pickup truck that was in the same lane is responsible for striking the motorcycle driver. Details showed the motorcycle driver and Gordon were both wearing a helmet when the accident happened. The name of the person inside the pickup were not released by authorities.

The attorneys at Truslow & Truslow in Columbia send their deepest thoughts to the family and friends who were devastated by the recent loss of their loved one.


32 busted in SC narcotics raid

Authorities in Horry County stated on November 7 that they recently apprehended 32 people in a drug raid. Furthermore, they have recovered several firearms, thousands of dollars worth of various illegal drugs, and thousands of dollars in cash, an article of News 13 reported.

According to reports, the people arrested, including two juveniles, were charged accordingly and their mugshots were taken. Horry County police reportedly seized heroin worth $24,000, cocaine worth $5,100, marijuana worth $3,000, and crack cocaine worth $1,600. Authorities told reports they also confiscated a Mercedes Benz vehicle and cash worth $10,000. In a press conference, Police Chief Joseph Hill stressed the importance of educating young people while they are in school to help them avoid getting involved in drugs. Hill also said the police continue to find ways to prevent young people from doing drugs.

Facing drug charges can be frightening, especially if you are unaware of the penalties and you are being threatened with imprisonment. However, if this happens to you in Columbia, get in touch with a lawyer at Truslow & Truslow today by calling (803) 256-6276.


Driver in fatal SC pedestrian crash facing charges

Charges were recently filed against a driver in South Carolina who caused a pedestrian accident that killed a college student, an October 30 article of timesunion.com reported.

According to reports, authorities from the City of Conway filed several charges against Edward Lee Washington on October 29 after he fatally struck Ryan Bielawa, 19. Washington, whom authorities charge with driving a vehicle while under the influence and causing death as well as having a suspended license, initially drove away after hitting Bielawa on a commercial street near the Coastal Carolina University. A bail worth $51,234 was set to Washington and he is currently booked at J. Reuben Long Detention Center. State authorities are assisting Conway police in investigating the incident.

Facing charges for crimes such as striking a pedestrian or causing a car accident can be frightening. Contact the Columbia defense attorneys at Truslow & Truslow today by calling (803) 256-6276 for immediate legal representation and to discuss the options you have.


Suspected drunk driver involved in SC fatal crash apprehended

A driver in Myrtle Beach involved in a fatal vehicular accident was recently arrested by authorities because she was under the influence of intoxicants, a report of News 13 reported on October 23rd.

Information coming from the Myrtle Beach Police revealed they arrested Patricia Mary Hale, 58, after she caused an accident on the Highway 17 Bypass. The two-vehicle collision happened after Hale disregarded a traffic sign and struck the vehicle containing two people at the intersection. A passenger from the second vehicle, identified as Samantha Herzig, succumbed to blunt trauma injuries as Hale’s vehicle struck the side of the vehicle where Herzig was seated. Hale, who is currently held on a $15,000 bond, was charged accordingly after telling authorities that she consumed multiple alcoholic beverage prior to the crash.

Facing a felony DUI is frightening experience, especially if there is a fatality involved. Immediately get in touch with the legal team at Truslow & Truslow in Columbia if you need help working past your charges today by calling (803) 256-6276.

Put our 50+ years of legal experience to work for YOU.

Click here to get started!

Confidential Consultation

(803) 256-6276