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Underage Drinking is Law Enforcement Focus at Carolina Cup

Police Officers at Carolina Cup Will Patrol for Underage Drinking and Binge Drinking

underage drinkingMidlands South Carolina is home to the Carolina Cup, a grand Southern tradition involving horse racing and formal attire – and, of course, drinking. The event is expected to draw 50,000 spectators on Saturday, but that number could jump to 70,000 if the weather is nice. And many of those attendees will be college students, some of whom are underage, and could be arrested for underage drinking.

More than half of the Carolina Cup attendees, in fact, are usually college students. Many of those students bring their own beer with them, or bring beer as a group to share. These students could end up being arrested on charges of underage drinking, a crime that South Carolina takes very seriously.

“Our efforts will have to have a huge presence to make the kids aware we are there – we want to be seen so they know we are there as a preventive measure,” said Camden Police Chief Joe Floyd, who will coordinate the efforts of more than 150 law enforcement officers – including 40 undercover agents on the prowl for underage drinkers – inside the race area.

“It won’t be only the Camden police,” Floyd said, adding that SLED and other state law enforcement officers will help patrol for underage drinking, binge drinking, and fighting. In 2014, police issued over 250 citations for a wide range of criminal activity, including underage drinking.

Chief Floyd said that he expects more than 200 students to be arrested for underage drinking, especially in one area called College Park, where college students gather, set up tents, and party. Most underage drinkers will be given a ticket if they present no other bad conduct, he said, but police do have the blessing of event staff to remove the worst offenders from the fair grounds.

County Sheriff Jim Matthews, who has helped patrol the track for the last few years, said the scenes of underage drinking are worrisome.

“It was not social drinking for many of them – it was drinking pretty much to get wasted,” Matthews said. “When a lot of them got off their buses, as they walked to the track, some were so intoxicated they couldn’t walk straight. We picked them off before they got in.”

“It was like binge drinking on steroids,” he added.

Police officers will keep an eye on drinking and driving as well, as South Carolina has very strict rules regarding DUI punishments.

Underage Drinking in South Carolina Has Serious Consequences

A conviction for underage drinking can have lasting consequences.

  • A student who has been convicted and/or pled guilty to an alcohol or drug related offense will not be eligible for a LIFE scholarship after the expiration of one academic year from the date of the adjudication, conviction or plea.
  • A driver who is over the age of 18 but under 21 charged with DUI may additionally be charged with child endangerment and subject to additional criminal penalties if they are carrying a passenger younger than 16.
  • A conviction for underage drinking and driving may ruin potential career opportunities.

The Strom Law Firm Defends Criminal Charges Involving Underage Drinking

If your child has been caught at a party that had underage drinking, whether they participated or not, they could face charges for the serious offense. You do not have to let charges of underage drinking ruin your or your child’s future. Contact the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm for a free, confidential case evaluation. We are here to help. 803.252.4800



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