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.
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.
“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.”