Open Container

Arrested on St. Patrick’s Day?

ImageWMBF as well as other news sources broadcasted information on the Internet, television and radio regarding this past weekend’s festivities. Amongst the weekend’s events, the Grand Strand celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, a car show and a cheerleading competition. Since there was so much to look forward to over the weekend, local law enforcement wanted their presence to be known so that the fun did not get out of control. This WMBF news article issued a statement from local law enforcement that read, “If you are caught drinking and driving, you are going to jail.”

http://www.wmbfnewus.com/story/21660018/myrtle-beach-police-are-cracking-down-this-weekend. Were you arrested for a DUI this weekend? Perhaps you were instead arrested on public intoxication charges? Possibly, you were arrested for possession of marijuana? These are all events that can occur when you are out celebrating holidays like St. Patrick’s Day.

It is almost certain that local law enforcement dealt mostly with DUI related offenses this past weekend. DUI laws make it unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle if the driver’s ability to safely drive has been impaired by the effects of drugs or alcohol or the driver is intoxicated at a level above the established BAC (blood alcohol concentration). In South Carolina, if you have a BAC of .08 or higher, you are legally considered too drunk to drive and can be punished by law. The nature of the DUI charges against you depends on many factors including your prior convictions, the severity of the offense, and the level of intoxication and whether the offense caused injury or death.

Most of us have made the mistake of getting behind the wheel and driving after a few too many cocktails, unfortunately, it’s a common mistake. But, fortunately, the law offers ways to mitigate this mistake. Additionally, the law offers ways to mitigate the mistake of public intoxication and possession of marijuana. For example, in the case of a DUI related offense, your punishment for the crime could be mitigated because the law enforcement officer did not arrest you on probable cause, which is a required element of an arrest. Your punishment for a DUI related offense could also be mitigated because the law enforcement officer improperly conducted field sobriety tests on the scene.

If you have found yourself in a similar situation as one listed above, like being arrested for a DUI, contact your criminal defense attorney Daniel Selwa. If you choose not to contact an attorney, your punishment under the law will likely reach the maximum penalties which could include: imprisonment, excessive fines, suspension of driver’s license and court ordered alcohol/drug treatment or counseling.  Daniel Selwa is an experienced attorney who can help mitigate the punishment for your crime.

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Open Container Laws in SC

ImageCheers! It’s the weekend and your weekend plans include alcohol and a night out on the town. The pregame party has begun, the music is bumping, the liquor is flowing and everyone is drinking but the designated driver. Ya’ll do the responsible thing by designating a sober driver for the night, but, there’s a catch, ya’ll also decide to drink in the car on the way to your local hotspot. You and all your friends figure that as long as the driver isn’t drinking and driving, all the passengers can drink in the car. You are the driver and the passengers in your car include two of your friends that are both 23 years old as well as another one of your friends who is 20 years old.

Although it is a smart decision to designate a sober driver, it is not a smart decision to drink alcohol in a moving vehicle because of open container laws. South Carolina law prohibits having an open container of beer, wine, or liquor in a moving vehicle of any kind except in the trunk or luggage compartment. A person who violates the open container law in South Carolina will face fines and may also face imprisonment. The passengers as well as the driver can face punishment for their violation of this law.

Furthermore, since one of the passengers is under the legal age to consume alcohol, the other passengers as well as the driver can face punishment for serving alcohol to a minor. The punishment for this crime will include fines and may include imprisonment as well.

There are always exceptions to the rule, which means, you may have a valid excuse under the law that will allow you to escape punishment. But, there are few exceptions, so the best way to protect yourself is to follow the black letter law. However, if you feel law enforcement has unfairly targeted you and has cited you for any crime you have not committed, or if you feel you have a valid excuse that justifies your behavior, contact attorney Daniel Selwa.

Have a great, safe weekend.

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