Columbia, SC- State Representative Ted Vick is in hot water again after he was charged with his second DUI offense in a year, just outside the state house Wednesday morning.
Vick, a Democrat from Chesterfield, was arrested by an officer from the Bureau of Protective Services in the parking lot of the state House after he was observed “staggering side to side” and “struggling to maintain his balance,” the Huffington Post reported. According to the official report, Vick got into his car and hit a cone before the officer stopped him.
But Vick’s attorney, fellow state representative Todd Rutherford said Vick was imbalanced because, “he had a rock in his shoe.” Adding, “The way he walks does not dictate the way you drive. And he only saw him driving 20 feet.”
“Ted was not intoxicated. He was not drunk. He was not impaired. I have never in all my years seen anybody stopped by an officer on foot in a parking garage,” Rutherford said, according to a report by the Associated Press.
However, the State reported that Vick smelled strongly of alcohol and refused to submit to field sobriety tests.
According to the incident report, Vick admitted to officers that he had two glasses of wine with dinner earlier that evening. The State reported that an officer asked the lawmaker if he would typically “feel comfortable in his in his current state, Vick said, ‘No, I have drivers.’”
Vick refused to take a breathalyzer once he was taken to jail, just like last May when he was pulled over and charged with DUI.
Vick’s run-in with police last May had similarities to his most recent arrest, not only did he refuse a breath test but he also ran into traffic cones in that incident as well.
Last May, Vick was pulled over by an officer around 1 a.m. for speeding and “having trouble driving in a straight line,” the Huffington Post reported. The police report stated that Vick ran over a flex cone before stopping, which Rutherford said was due to the size of his truck.
The officer’s report said there was a strong odor of alcohol coming from Vick’s breath. In that incident Vick also refused to submit to field sobriety tests.
Vick also had a passenger in his car, a 21 year-old university student who said he was giving her a ride home from a local bar. The State said he also had a pistol on his person and his concealed weapons permit had expired in 2007.
According to the Huffington Post, Vick’s first DUI charged was eventually dropped, and it’s possible that he might be able to avoid the second charge, especially with a strong defense.
South Carolina has an implied consent law, which means that by having a driver’s license you automatically give police the right to ask you submit to a sobriety tests and refusing to do so means you could have your license suspended immediately and lose it for several months.