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Festival results in more than 200 citations

A popular South Carolina event, the annual St. Pat's in Five Points festival, resulted in law enforcement officers issuing more than 200 citations to attendees, many for underage drinking. The citations came during the festivities on March 14 in Columbia.

Participating agencies included the State Law Enforcement division and the Columbia Police Department. State Law Enforcement officers arrested 12 people and cited 160 more for underage drinking offenses while police officers with the Columbia Police Department reportedly arrest 21 people for underage drinking, carrying fake identification and disorderly conduct.

People who are under the age of 21 are prohibited from possessing, drinking, purchasing or trying to purchase any alcoholic beverages. If a person is convicted of an infraction, he or she may be required to pay a fine between $265 and $470 and go to jail for up to 30 days for a first offense. People may also lose their driving privileges for 120 days for a first offense and be required to attend an alcohol education and treatment program. Subsequent offenses may lead to stiffer penalties and the loss of a driving license for a year.

Young people who are charged with underage drinking may not understand the potential severity of the consequences. Those who receive an infraction for allegedly drinking while underage may want to seek the help of a criminal defense attorney. The state takes a stiff approach to underage drinking offenses because of the greater potential of young people to be involved in drinking and driving accidents. A criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a favorable plea for his or her client that avoids jail time. He or she may also be able to attack the reason the officer stopped the person as well as the evidence admitted in the case.

Sources: Department of Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Services, "Know the rules before you play the game," accessed on March 19, 2015

The State, "More than 200 cited for infractions at Five Points festival in Columbia," March 16, 2015

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