People all across South Carolina are likely familiar with sobriety checkpoints. These are commonly held by law enforcement agencies over key holiday periods throughout the year. These holidays may include Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. The goal of these checkpoints may well appear to motorists to garner as many arrests for suspected drunk driving as possible.
What happens at a drunk driving checkpoint is not necessarily always clear. One report by SCNow.com provides some information about one checkpoint held this past New Year’s Eve in Florence County. Few details are given about exactly what officers ask drivers or what may lead them to believe that a driver is impaired, prompting them to request a driver to take field sobriety tests or to provide a breath or blood sample.
This particular checkpoint was produced and operated jointly by the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Florence County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Enforcement unit. Throughout the night, the teams arrested three drivers and charged them with driving under the influence. The report did not indicate the drivers’ blood alcohol contents at the time of their arrests. The article did, however, note that a lieutenant was reported as saying it was a “good night”.
Whether the night was deemed good because of the number of arrests or the number of people stopped but not arrested is unclear. For residents who are concerned about law enforcement being over zealous in their efforts to make arrests, this could be concerning.