Carolina Cup Alcohol, Drug, & Traffic Tickets
Historically, Carolina Cup in historic Camden, Kershaw County is one of our favorite weekends of the year. It is time to dress up, hang outside with your friends, and consume alcohol. It should not surprise anyone that state and local law enforcement know that people drink at the race and that many of those drinking are under the age of twenty one. Agents and Officers from SLED, South Carolina Highway Patrol, Kershaw County Sherriff’s Department, and the City of Camden actively patrol the Springdale Race Course and the surrounding areas. Some are in uniform and some are not. Unfortunately, many of our clients start off the day having a good time, but their afternoon turns sour after getting ticketed (or arrested) for various alcohol, drug, or traffic offenses. South Carolina law enforcement is serious about the public’s safety during Cup and has been known to have a zero tolerance alcohol policy during the event.
Open Container at Carolina Cup
Unfortunately, this zero tolerance policy can create real adverse long term consequences if you are underage and cited for possession of alcohol, beer, or illegal drugs. Many states will suspend a defendant’s driver’s license if he (or she) is convicted of consumption or possession of alcohol or beer while being under twenty one. While a suspended license will create a short term problem, it also a problem that never really goes away. A license suspension will always be on your motor vehicle report and this could create problems with schools or employers in the future.
Carolina Cup Possession of Marijuana
Similarly, the charge of misdemeanor possession of marijuana has the potential to create short and long term problems for defendants. Most states no longer suspend a minor’s license upon a conviction of “misdemeanor possession,” but the Federal Government could limit your ability to obtain financial aid for college or graduate school after any drug conviction. A drug offense is also a misdemeanor criminal charge that will remain a mark on your record.
What to do with your Citation?
Generally, if you or one of your friends is charged with a drug or alcohol related crime during Carolina Cup, the Officer will not take you to jail. You will receive a South Carolina Uniform Traffic Ticket that lists your court date and the charge. Often times, the charging Officer will also give you unsolicited legal advice on how to deal with the charge. You may be told that you do not need to come to court and that you can simply pay the fine and move on with your life. This is technically true, but by paying the fine you are pleading guilty to charge as it is written and making the decision to accept the consequences of a guilty plea. Pleading guilty and paying the fine is the easiest (and usually cheapest) way to deal with the problem of a criminal charge. However, it is not best way to handle a criminal charge if you are concerned about your criminal record. Officers are also known to try and recruit defendants into signing up for court sponsored diversion programs (drug court, Alcohol Education Program, or Pre Trial Intervention). These are programs that you are eligible to complete one time in exchange for the court finding you not guilty. Sometimes these programs are a great way to resolve a alcohol or drug related charge. However, law enforcement writes many tickets during Carolina Cup and often does not complete a thorough investigation like they would if you were cited during a normal day in Camden. Our firm has found that we can use this to our clients’ advantage and resolve their cases that eliminate the negative consequences of a drug or alcohol charge without having to utilize your one opportunity to resolve a case with a diversion program.
Criminal Defense Lawyer for your Carolina Cup ticket
As always, our firm has found that the single most important part of your case is your interaction with the Officer issuing your ticket. If you are underage (or over 21) and cited for open container, misdemeanor possession of marijuana, or minor in possession of liquor or beer, make sure you are courteous and respectful to the charging officer. If you are rude, belligerent, or try to run away, it will only make your case more difficult to resolve. We understand minors who are charged with alcohol and drug related face potential consequences outside of the judicial system, such as administrative penalties and loss of federal financial aid. Do not make the mistake of trying to resolve the matter yourself unless you have a thorough understanding of your pending charges and all potential consequences.
Our defense lawyers offer a FREE consultation for anyone who received a criminal citation at Carolina Cup in Kershaw County, SC.
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Peter J. Nosal, Esq.
Thomas C. Jeter III, Esq.
SOUTH CAROLINA OFFICENosal & Jeter, LLP 852 Gold Hill Rd Ste 201
Fort Mill, SC 29708