As you may know, this is the vacation season in Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas. Our peak season in fact. Many people come to enjoy the beach and end up enjoying it too much. In fact, one of the local stores prints up shirts that read "Came for vacation, left on probation." This trivializes the severity of the out of control partying that occurs on the Grand Strand but tends to point out the fact that every year vacationers get arrested and have their vacation ruined because of a DUI or DUAC.
Everyone knows what a DUI or Driving Under the Influence charge is but few understand that there is also a fairly new law called DUAC or Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration. DUAC's are easier to prosecute if you submit to a breathalyzer. If your BAC or Blood Alcohol Content is greater than .08 (which is approximately one alcoholic beverage depending on your size) and you are witnessed driving, you will be charged and most likely convicted of DUAC. The same is true for the DUI but with a DUI, the officer has to prove that you were materially and appreciably impaired while operating the vehicle. This is different from in the DUAC in that there is more evidence that is needed by the prosecution to meet their burden of proof. When I say more evidence, generally speaking, that is, results of the field sobriety tests, the breathalyzer, observations made by witnesses, and of course the video from the officer among other things.
The best option when having a crazy night out in Myrtle Beach is to call a cab. You should never drive drunk. More especially, never drive drunk in Myrtle Beach. The Myrtle Beach area is known for making questionable DUI arrests. The officers here in Horry County have an incentive for making DUI arrests....not convictions. If there is the slightest inclination that you may have taken a drink, you might as well turn around and put your hands behind your back. I said arrests, not convictions (this is an important distinction). What does that mean? Well it means that there is room for abuse. It also means that even if you are not drunk, your probably going to jail. When stopped by the police, you have the right to remain silent. This sounds strange in theory but your battle at that point is not with the officer, its in the court room. If the officer asks you any questions, you tell that officer "I wish to invoke my right to remain silent." Under the Constitution, that would be the 5th Amendment - Right Against Self Incrimination.
If you are the unfortunate victim of an overzealous officer, know this, you can not talk yourself out of it. The best course of action if you have ingested any alcohol is to refuse to offer any statements or enter into any conversation, refuse to partake in any field sobriety tests (follow the pen with your eyes, walk the line, lifting any leg up to balance, saying your ABC's), and refuse to take a breathalyzer. Finally and most obvious, if you are driving past 12:00 am on a Friday or Saturday night most likely everyone on the road with you is drunk, especially in Myrtle Beach. Don't expect that you will just get a ticket if you get pulled past this hour. Expect that you will go to jail.
After you have been arrested for DUI or DUAC, you need to see an attorney immediately. You must find one that you trust, that works well for you (a good fit) and one that has experience in getting DUI and/or DUAC's in Myrtle Beach dismissed. Call me, Daniel A. Selwa, II to represent you for any DUI and/or DUAC charge and I will provide you with experienced representation with a proven track record.