BY NATALIE CAULA and BRENDAN KEARNEY
Several Lowcountry residents welcomed 2013 from a jail cell after concentrated police patrols resulted in dozens of arrests involving alcohol around Charleston.
On Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 combined, at least 30 people were arrested and charged involving alcohol-related crimes, according to Charleston County jail records.
At least 10 people were charged with driving under the influence and 11 with public intoxication or drunkenness and booked into the Al Cannon Detention Center. Charges also included open container, minor in possession of alcohol and disorderly conduct.
Berkeley and Dorchester counties do not have similarly searchable jail websites, and spokesmen for tri-county law enforcement agencies could not provide tallies of alcohol-related arrests because Tuesday was a holiday and reports had not been compiled. But high totals would not be surprising.
Law enforcement agencies around the area increased their traffic enforcement on New Year’s Eve through DUI saturation patrols and enforcement against aggressive driving. Along the heavily trafficked avenues downtown, it seemed there was a squad car every couple of blocks.
Maj. Jim Brady, spokesman for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, struck a hopeful note.
“Sometimes it’s a good thing if you don’t get a whole lot because that means people are using common sense,” he said.
Those convicted of DUI face a $400 fine and up to 30 days in jail, for first offenses. Second offenses could lead to a fine up to $5,100 and up to a year in jail. Those charged with DUI for a third time face up to a $6,300 fine and up to three years in jail.
Reach Natalie Caula at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ncaula and Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 or Twitter.com/kearney_brendan.