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Anti-drunk driving group releases report showing low DUI conviction rates in SC

Mothers Against Drunk Driving released their 2020 Court Monitoring Report that shows how DUI cases were handled across the state.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Mother’s Against Drunk Driving South Carolina (MADD) released their “Refusal to Change” report Wednesday detailing low DUI conviction rates across the Palmetto State.

MADD SC Executive Director Steven Burritt said in a video conference, “MADD for many years has certainly heard the frustrations of those on the front line of trying to enforce and prosecute DUI cases about all the systematic issues we have and what they struggle- but there was very little data behind it.”

Because of this, MADD decided to begin compiling data from areas of the state about conviction rates on DUI’s.

South Carolina mothers against drunk driving COURT MONITORING REPORT R E F U S A L T O C H A N G E 2020 DEDICATION: CHALLISSAH MILLS Challissah Mills was just 26 years old and at the beginning of her life when she was tragically killed by a drunk driver.

They categorized three areas of outcome: found guilty, pled ‘down’ to a lesser charge or dropped, dismissed or not guilty.

Burritt showed, “[In] Richland County, 399 cases and you can see where it’s almost an even breakdown of our three categories by 30% conviction rate column.”

Lexington County had a sample of 263 cases, most of which were pled down with guilty verdicts being a close second.

MADD followed this data with recommendations for what they feel needs to be changed in the state. This includes quicker prosecutions that tend to lead to guilty verdicts, which have been recently affected by the pandemic pushing new cases further and further back.

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“It’s going to be huge," Burritt says, "Everyone talked about the fact that they keep seeing their backlog getting bigger and bigger. Arrests may have been down some, but they still were continuing so with no court moving cases were continuing to get backlogged.”

To read over this report, click here. And to learn more about MADD, visit their website here