SC Law Blog

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Public Intoxication Charges in Myrtle Beach

Public intoxication reports are on the rise in Myrtle Beach. On Sunday alone, the police responded to a handful of calls about public intoxication. Myrtle Beach is a hot tourist spot and in part the rise of public intoxication reports can be attributed to the increased number of visitors in the area.

Public drunkenness is a misdemeanor offense. It carries a penalty of up to 30 days in jail and fines of up to $500.00. In the South Carolina case of State v. Byrnes, the Court defined public drunkenness; disorderly conduct; disturbing the peace as: being at a public highway, place, or gathering in a grossly intoxicated condition or conducing oneself in a disorderly or boisterous manner in public or use of obscene or profane language at any public highway, place, or gathering or in hearing distance of any schoolhouse or church or discharging a firearm while upon or within 50 yards of any public road or highway while under the influence or feigning to be under the influence of intoxicated liquor, without just cause or excuse.

For purposes of the South Carolina statute, a public place is a place where the public has access to the area and many people can see the activity.  The article attached below mainly concerns people on the streets around Ocean Boulevard. Their location is considered a public place for the purpose of this statute. The statute does not require that the language be of a type, which tends to provoke a violent response or threaten a breach of the peace. The language only needs to be noisy, scandalous or abusive so as to disturb or annoy any other person in the area.

There are possible defenses available to the defendant facing public intoxication charges. For example, protected speech, some speech is protected and thus does not meet the requirements of the statute. Also, the defense of provocation may be available. Furthermore, the statute itself may be challenged on overbreadth grounds, meaning the statute does not adequately address what is or is not prohibited. It is important to note that the South Carolina statute on public intoxication has been challenged on overbreadth grounds in the past.

Due to the recent rise of reports, the police are cracking down on the crime of public intoxication. If you are facing public intoxication charges in Myrtle Beach one of these listed defenses may be available for you. If you call Daniel Selwa today he will be able to discuss your best defenses against charges of public intoxication. 

Myrtle Beach police respond to public intoxication incidents - Today's News -


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  3. I also want to add that electronic cigarettes are not really welcome there for some reason.

    I remember that I was smoking an ecig in a restaurant in Myrtle beach and the owner called the cops on me. They can be a bit rude. If you decide to go there, be on your best behavior for sure!