Councilman's Arrest Steals Spotlight, Lawyer Says

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A South Carolina town councilman was arrested last weekend for allegedly driving under the influence. Attorney Gary Christmas says the attention should go to the victims, not the politician.

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“Often when there is a DUI arrest, all the attention is placed on the driver who caused it

Police may not have been expecting to be handed a City Council ID card when they pulled over a pickup truck last weekend. The driver, Mount Pleasant councilman John Burn, had driven into a stopped car Saturday night and was arrested for drunk driving according to WBTW. The story has grabbed headlines, but Charleston personal injury attorney Gary Christmas says the attention is misplaced.

The arrest, which was caught on video by a squad car dash cam, followed a failed field sobriety test. Burns showed his city ID several times and asked the officer to call the police chief.

There were two women inside the car he hit, but Christmas, who advocates for victims' rights, says they have hardly been mentioned in the news coverage.

“Often when there is a DUI arrest, all the attention is placed on the driver who caused it,” he said. “Supposedly the women were not seriously hurt – meaning they were not taken to the ER. But seemingly minor injuries can be life changing if they restrict your movement or keep you home from work.”

Burn had one prior legal scuffle, when he was accused of sexual assault in 2008. He denied the allegation but settled the case out of court, according to court documents.

“It doesn't matter how powerful or important the person is who hits you,” Christmas said. “Drunk driving is a dangerous crime, and the driver is liable for any injuries or property damage.”

Christmas says that car accident victims should always talk to an attorney.

“It could be the difference between paying years of medical bills, or waking away with a fresh start on life.”

About Gary Christmas:

Gary Christmas is a Charleston personal injury lawyer and senior partner in the law firm of Howell & Christmas. He has tried more than 200 cases with a focus on protecting the rights of people injured on the job or in boating and automobile accidents. He can be contacted at:

Howell & Christmas
1495 Remount Road
North Charleston, South Carolina 29406

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