When they think of spring break, most people imagine lazy days in the sun, crazy parties, and lifelong memories made with the best of friends.
But for some college students, spring break doesn't turn out that way. Instead, the vacation comes to an end when they find themselves in a jail cell, a hospital, or even a morgue.
There's nothing wrong with following the crowds to Myrtle Beach for the party of the year, but college students need to take precautions to protect themselves and their friends from legal troubles, or worse.
What Kinds of Things Do Spring Breakers Get Arrested For?
Some of the most common offenses college students get arrested for during spring break in Myrtle Beach include:
- Underage drinking: If you are younger than 21, it is illegal to drink or even possess alcohol. SC police regularly target spring break drinkers who appear younger than 21. And remember, it doesn't matter if it's your drink - if you are holding or even just touch an alcoholic beverage, police may arrest you.
- Drug Possession: Alcohol dominates spring break festivities in Myrtle Beach, but there are plenty of illegal drugs to go around, too. Marijuana is the most common. In SC, if you are caught with pot you will be arrested, and you will go to jail. Smoking in hotel rooms, on hotel balconies, or in vehicles is the most common way to get busted.
- Public intoxication: When you consume a lot of alcohol or other drugs, it shows - especially if you are not an experienced user. If police see you acting like you're wasted, they will probably arrest you.
- DUI: Getting arrested for drunk driving can have long-lasting consequences for college students. You stand a good chance of losing your driver's license, at least temporarily, and that job that helps you pay the costs of college life. Also, alcohol-related offenses may affect your eligibility for financial aid.
- Assault and battery: Where there are large crowds consuming lots of booze, there are confrontations. If you get into a dispute, you don't have to hit or even touch anyone to find yourself facing assault and battery charges - you can be charged even if you threaten to hurt someone.
- "Contempt of cop:" There is no such thing as contempt of cop, and if you get arrested for mouthing off to a police officer, there's a good chance we can get your charge dismissed. But, even if we get the case dismissed later, getting arrested can not only ruin your night at spring break, it can also lead to other, legitimate trouble and put you and your friends on the cops' radar. If you need another reason to refrain from verbally abusing the police, just consider the recent news stories about police beatings and shootings.
Myrtle Beach Spring Break Safety Tips
You can't control everything when you are part of a large, days-long party. But here are some things you can do to keep yourself safe during spring break:
- Don't drink too much. If you're under 21, it's illegal. If you're 21 or older, you should still limit yourself - drinking too much leads to poor judgment.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Not everyone is there to make friends and have fun. If you see someone behaving aggressively or suspiciously, let your friends know and keep your distance.
- Don't ride with drunk drivers: Whether you are in a car or a boat, never agree to ride with someone who is drunk or using other drugs. Remember, you're on vacation, so there's nothing so urgent that it's worth risking your life.
- Don't agree to a police search: If police have probable cause to suspect you of a crime, they don't need your consent. If they are asking for it, it means they probably don't have a legally justifiable reason to search you or your belongings ... unless you agree to it.
- Don't lie about your age or identity: If you get caught drinking underage, don't lie to the cops. Whatever crime they think you've committed, it's probably not as serious as lying to them.
If you are facing charges after visiting Myrtle Beach for spring break, call an experienced SC defense attorney immediately. We may be able to get your charges dismissed, win your case at trial, or use a pretrial diversion program to keep the charges off your record.