Every year, St. Patrick's Day brings with it a slew of alcohol-related charges. It can happen to the best of us. With free-flowing frothy green beer, live bands and a mood of frivolity, many otherwise law-abiding citizens easily get tied up in ordinance violations, or more serious charges. Some Georgia police departments have adopted a rather understanding disposition towards the onslaught of alcohol violations they cite during the St. Patty's Day period. Aiming to avoid overcrowded jails for violations that were wholly anticipated, law enforcement in Savannah gave an interview to the local news channel, WSAV-TV, highlighting their quick and easy process for resolving these alcohol-related violations.
The 2017 St. Patrick's Day festival in Savannah drew thousands of revelers, and the setting allowed for a whole manner of minor offenses stemming from alcohol use. These include drinking alcohol in a parked vehicle, drinking from a can, bottle or glass, drinking from a cup greater than 16 ounces, consuming alcohol without a wristband, disorderly conduct such as fighting or indecency, or minor possessing or drinking alcohol. It is incredibly easy for anyone to end up violating one or more of these ordinances on St. Patrick's Day. Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher explained to WSAV his desire to expedite the entire process associated with these types of arrests, and how that was rooted in a painless fine payment option.
”I went and talked to Judge Stokes and Judge ODell and Judge Williams… about St. Patricks' since it's going to be on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and a Sunday.” With a four day window to make arrests and give citations, Wilcher had the foresight to avoid “clogging” the jail by asking judges to clarify fines for each common misdemeanor/ordinance violation. Those arrested in the four-day period would still be processed at the County Detention Center, but for a majority of common offenses, the offender could simply pay their fine and be released on the spot. “Anything that is a misdemeanor or (violation of) city ordinances – we're going to get them in and get them out as quick as we can,” Wilcher told WSAV. If an individual could not pay the associated fine by cash or credit, they would be forced to go to court. The fines for common offenses are as follows:
One drink on the street limit: $121
Size of cup: limited to 16 ounces: $150
Drinking from can, bottle or glass: $150
Drinking alcohol in parked motor vehicle: $150
Minor possessing or drinking alcohol: $250
Consuming alcohol in festival area
WITHOUT a wristband: $100
Disorderly conduct by urinating in public: $200
Disorderly conduct: fighting, indecency: $500
A DUI charge would not be subject to the same treatment, however. Wilcher clarified that a DUI charge would still result in court proceedings and bond payment. DUI charges remain a class of their own within the realm of alcohol-related offenses, however, no charge is hopeless. Being arrested for a DUI is frightening; you may not know where to begin if you have been charged. The chaotic St. Patrick's Day period sees many DUI arrests, you are not alone. The critical first step in fighting your charges is recruiting the aid of a skilled attorney who specializes in drunk driving cases. Dekalb DUI attorney Richard Lawson will put his extensive experience to work and build you a credible defense. Contact The Law Offices of Richard Lawson immediately for a free consultation.