This year's 4th of July celebration will look eerily different due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities across South Carolina have already canceled their fireworks in order to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Nonetheless, countless South Carolina residents will celebrate America's independence by congregating with friends and family. Of course, this also means consuming alcohol.
Like on most major holidays, police often amp up their efforts to crack down on drunk drivers. One thing that may make police more active this year is the fact that the 4th of July will fall on a Saturday. If you plan on driving to or from a celebration, be prepared to encounter a sobriety checkpoint.
What to expect at a sobriety checkpoint in Columbia
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, South Carolina is one of many states where checkpoints are conducted, yet there is "no state authority upholding their legality."
Police conduct sobriety checkpoints at times when people are most likely to drive drunk. This includes major holidays or other popular drinking days, like Super Bowl Sunday.
When you approach a sobriety checkpoint, you will be asked to pull over. This can happen even if you haven't committed any traffic infractions. You must provide your driver's license and vehicle registration upon request.
You are not required to answer any questions, however. Anything you tell a police officer at a sobriety checkpoint can lead to further suspicion. Or, it can be used against you in court, if you're arrested.
If an officer suspects that you were driving drunk, you may be asked to perform a field sobriety test or breath test.
What if I'm placed under arrest?
As we discussed in March 2020, your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level doesn't have to be 0.08 percent (the legal limit) for you to be arrested and charged with a DUI. Police officers often become overzealous during holiday periods, which can lead to serious errors in judgment.
If you are placed under arrest, it's important that you follow orders. Arguing with the police or resisting arrest can make matters worse and lead to additional charges. If you were sober or had a BAC level within the legal threshold, an experienced DUI defense attorney can help you prove your innocence in court.
Why do I need a DUI defense attorney to help me fight my charges?
One of the worst things that can happen after a fun celebration with friends and family is to be arrested and charged with a DUI. Attorney Matt Bodman has seen this happen countless times and has successfully helped those charged with a DUI avoid the harsh consequences.
Should you be arrested this 4th of July, contact Matt Bodman, P.A. and schedule your free legal consultation. You can also call our law office in Columbia, SC at 866-487-9077.