This upcoming Halloween weekend, many of the police costumes that you see out and about won’t be costumes at all. They will be uniforms worn by actual police officers and highway patrol officers who are out in force in an effort to combat drunk driving in South Carolina.
Why the increased focus on DUIs? The number of fatal accidents in South Carolina is currently on pace to be just as deadly as last year and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety (SCDPS) wants to improve on that number. They view Halloween weekend as a prime opportunity to help accomplish that goal. Combine this with the fact that police are traditionally extra vigilant and DUI checkpoints are more prevalent around Halloween, and the possibility of being arrested for DUI skyrockets.
With that in mind, here are three facts that you should know about DUIs in South Carolina on Halloween and Halloween weekend.
The Scary Facts About Halloween DUIs
- Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and all surrounding cities are well-known for increasing their DUI enforcement around Halloween. The Myrtle Beach area is also well-known for increased DUI patrols as well, which means that U.S. Route 17 (which runs from Myrtle Beach through Mount Pleasant and Charleston) is under an even higher level of scrutiny than many other roadways.
- Many law enforcement agencies in South Carolina rely on the BAC DataMaster machine for breath tests. Unfortunately, this machine is known to produce inaccurate results for a wide array of reasons.
- If you are arrested while wearing a costume, prepare to have those images made public. Along with the other damage that a DUI arrest can cause to your reputation, your finances and your job, there are many well-known instances across the nation of drivers being pulled over and having images of them in their costumes go viral.
No matter how important the goals of the police and the SCDPS are, it doesn’t mean that anyone who had any alcohol to drink is breaking the law, or that police should be allowed to overstep their authority. While some people may dress up as police officers for Halloween and behave irresponsibly, those who are actual law enforcement officers are required to uphold a higher standard than their costumed counterparts.
Regardless of what costume a driver is wearing or how much alcohol a driver allegedly consumed, the Fourth Amendment (protecting against unreasonable search and seizures) and other applicable protections provided by state and federal law remain in effect. As such, officers must follow proper procedures, and conduct traffic stops, checkpoint stops, and sobriety tests in such a way that they stand up to scrutiny.
If you or a friend are pulled over this Halloween weekend, get legal help immediately to give yourself the strongest chance of avoiding a DUI conviction or facing other consequences from a DUI arrest.