Columbia, SC (WLTX) - SLED stores every breathalyzer video on a server for lawyers to access, but earlier this month a transformer was struck by lighting and made the videos unavailable.
"We never lost any data, everything is backed up everything is still secure," said Thom Berry with SLED.
Back on July 5th, lighting struck a transformer on the SLED campus frying the server that contains thousands of videos from DUI cases.
Berry with the department says they are now in the process of bringing that server back online.
"We have hundreds and thousands of files on that server so it's not a situation where you can just throw a switch and everything comes back immediately."
Berry says they have notified solicitors, local law enforcement and other agencies about the problem.
While they are waiting to fix the problem, defense attorneys say this could delay cases state wide.
"For the new cases, the cases where the lawyers are now trying to get information in preparation for trial they can't possible go forward."
Several years ago Joe McCullough was successful in a state Supreme Court case to affirm the requirement that SLED had to keep the records and make them available to lawyers on both sides via the internet or another source. He says this problem has his colleagues upset.
"They are frustrated and we are trying to be patient, the judged are frustrated because they want to put the pressure on these cases to be moved along but this is a circumstance that is out of our control," said McCullough.
He says videos are important even if the individual refused a breath test.
"Whether it's a real refusal or didn't quite blow enough or whatever, the video is important in every case because there has to be a video of that type in every case and then you have other records that are critical to know if that machine is working."
SLED officials say they hope to have the server back on line by August 9th.