What some call a "rite of passage" contributed to the arrest of over 200 people at this year's Carolina Cup. An increased police presence at the annual horse race resulted in 75 more arrests than last year's event, most of them alcohol-related. Despite the high number of arrests at this year's race, law enforcement officials insist their primary goal is ensuring the safety of event patrons, not busting people for minor offenses. Their efforts may have saved some young people from a drunk driving charge.
Underage drinking, public intoxication and fake identification accounted for many of the arrests. In addition to hundreds of alcohol-related offenses, at least eight people were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning. The event highlights the risks associated with binge drinking among young adults.
The vast majority of the arrests made were at the "College Park" section of the racetrack. While alcohol use at the Carolina Cup is hardly a new phenomenon, the College Park section of the track has become a hotbed of binge drinking that other spectators try to avoid, according to Kershaw County Sheriff's Office.
In addition to the health risks associated with alcohol misuse, its effect on decision making is also significant. Widespread acceptance of binge drinking can cause young people to drink more than they usually would. This often leads to high risk behaviors that can have serious consequences, like drunk driving charges.
In South Carolina, DUI laws are especially strict for persons under the age of 21. A person with a blood alcohol level of just 0.02 can be cited for DUI, even though a person may not be noticeably impaired.
While some alcohol-related offenses can be resolved by paying a fine and attending classes, others have more serious consequences. An attorney can help those charged with underage drinking and related violations to determine the best way to handle the case.
Source: The Daily Gamecock, "225 arrested at Carolina Cup," Kathryn Kranjc, April 2, 2012