DUI arrests triple in 2012 compared to 2011

Posted: Apr 30, 2012 7:09 PM EDTUpdated: May 07, 2012 8:06 AM EDT
By Monique Blair
The article below demonstrates one of two possible disturbing trends. On the one hand, it may indicate that more persons are driving under the influence despite an increased police presence. In the alternative, it may reflect that police are simply being more aggressive in making DUI arrests whether the drivers are truly impaired or not. Certainly, no one wants drunk drivers on the road. However, under these circumstances, more innocent individuals can get caught up in the otherwise good intentioned DUI emphasis and end up being arrested falsely. It is not illegal to drink and then drive. Many of us have drinks with our dinner or with friends. Those individuals are perfectly fine to drive. However, if stopped and alcohol is detected, you can expect to be arrested no matter what you do or say at that point. The very best advice to avoid a DUI is to designate someone who does not drink at all.

The DUI attorneys of Reeves Aiken & Hightower LLP stand ready to aggressively defend you if you have been falsely charged with DUI in SC. We offer a state-wide practice but currently focus our practice in York, Lancaster, Richland, and Lexington counties. We encourage you to visit our website at www.rjrlaw.com and compare our attorneys’ credentials to any other firm. You can then call us toll-free at 877-374-5999 for a private, confidential consultation to review your particular case. Be safe this Memorial Day weekend.

In 2012, 159 arrests have been made in connection with driving under the influence. In 2011 at this time, only 49 arrests had been made.

Myrtle Beach Traffic Division Police Officer Kevin Cast said there are many reasons for the influx in arrests. He said the new training offered to recruits allows officers who enter the field for the first time to be completely trained to detect an impaired driver.

It is a certification in advanced DUI detection that recruits receive. Cast said until now, officers in the past had gone up to three years before receiving that specific type of training.

Cast said there is also an increased number of field sobriety instructors. Two years ago, there were only two certified field sobriety instructors compared to the seven officers the Myrtle Beach Police have now.

Local Criminal Defense Attorney, Amy Lawrence, said she thinks the nice weather earlier than usual is a reason for the high rate of arrests.

“We have better weather earlier in the game, so we have a lot more people. Anytime in Myrtle Beach, we can have hundreds of thousands of extra people and a lot of those are families and people here on vacation and so the influx in people alone is what brings our numbers up a lot,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said finding balance between getting dangerous drivers off the roads and making unnecessary arrests could be really tough.

“We’ve got a state and city who’s trying to protect their constituents and family members and we’ve got all these tourists and the issue becomes, do we arrest more people in an abundance of caution or do we let it go and not have those DUI’s?  I think they’re just willing to arrest, and ask questions later,” Lawrence said.

Officer Cast said so far in 2012, there has been one vehicle fatality that was related to alcohol.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.