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DUI Arrests Double it Myrtle Beach This Year

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) Eleven DUI arrests were made between Saturday and Sunday in Myrtle Beach. Police said this number was higher than a typical weekend.

In 2012, 159 arrests have been made in connection with driving under the influence. In 2011 at this time, only 49 arrests had been made.

Myrtle Beach Traffic Division Police Officer Kevin Cast said there are many reasons for the influx in arrests. He said the new training offered to recruits allows officers who enter the field for the first time to be completely trained to detect an impaired driver.

It is a certification in advanced DUI detection that recruits receive. Cast said until now, officers in the past had gone up to three years before receiving that specific type of training.

Cast said there is also an increased number of field sobriety instructors. Two years ago, there were only two certified field sobriety instructors compared to the seven officers the Myrtle Beach Police have now.

Local Criminal Defense Attorney, Amy Lawrence, said she thinks the nice weather earlier than usual is a reason for the high rate of arrests.

“We have better weather earlier in the game, so we have a lot more people. Anytime in Myrtle Beach, we can have hundreds of thousands of extra people and a lot of those are families and people here on vacation and so the influx in people alone is what brings our numbers up a lot,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said finding balance between getting dangerous drivers off the roads and making unnecessary arrests could be really tough.

“We’ve got a state and city who’s trying to protect their constituents and family members and we’ve got all these tourists and the issue becomes, do we arrest more people in an abundance of caution or do we let it go and not have those DUI’s?  I think they’re just willing to arrest, and ask questions later,” Lawrence said.

Officer Cast said so far in 2012, there has been one vehicle fatality that was related to alcohol.

Copyright 2012 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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