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DUI checkpoints and underage drinking in South Carolina

Police in South Carolina are increasingly using DUI checkpoints and roadside safety checks to find and identify drivers they suspect of drunk driving. Adults over the age of 21 and teenagers alike can get stopped and arrested at these checkpoints if police believe they are inebriated. While underage drinking and driving charges often come with the threat of stiffer punishment than over-21 drinking and driving charges, both of these kinds of arrests tend to happen in the same way.

DUI checkpoints are most prevalent around major holidays, when drinking and driving is more likely to occur at holiday parties. During these times, police will set up a roadblock at a major intersection and randomly stop oncoming vehicles. They might stop one out of 10 drivers, for example, and look for signs of inebriation.

Some say that DUI checkpoints are unfair and unlawful, and the laws governing such checkpoints differ from state to state, but federal law supports their use. Even in states where officers are required to have a reasonable amount of suspicion before they pull someone over for drunk driving, the use of DUI checkpoints have survived legal challenges. In a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in 1990, the Supreme Court decided that states have an interest in stopping drunk driving due to public safety concerns, and this was sufficient reason for states to "intrude" on other drivers' privacy. While some state laws still prohibit the use of DUI checkpoints, South Carolina is not one of those states.

South Carolina drivers accused of underage drinking and driving or normal drinking and driving after being arrested at a DUI checkpoint may wish to seek the assistance of a DUI attorney. A criminal defense attorney who is experienced with DUI violations will review the evidence in your case, take action to ensure your rights are protected and defend you against the charges during your legal proceedings.

Source: FindLaw, "DUI Checkpoints" Dec. 02, 2014

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