It is not uncommon for intoxicated drivers to be stopped by law enforcement personnel during any period throughout the year. To be sure, police officers and other members of law enforcement often patrol the roads of South Carolina, searching for those who may be driving under the influence.
However, there are certain times throughout the year when law enforcement agencies engage in heightened enforcement campaigns in an attempt to net as many drunk driving arrests as possible. If you find yourself in this situation, it is in your best interests to reach out to a skilled Greenville attorney immediately to protect your rights.
STEP Campaigns and Heightened Enforcement Campaigns
Troubled publishing heiress Patty Hearst, whom some people consider to be an authority on the subject, once remarked that “trouble is very easy to find when you go looking for it.” That same principle applies in this area of traffic ticket enforcement. When officers are under direct or indirect pressure to cite motorists for a certain violation at a certain time and in a certain area, warnings turn into citations and, generally speaking, the state’s cases becomes weaker.
Sustained Traffic Enforcement Programs (STEP campaigns) typically involve vehicle checkpoints and other extraordinary measures. These local initiatives are funded by grants from the state or federal government. They also have clever names, like “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket.” Due to budget cuts, STEP campaigns generally take place only on major holiday weekends and other similar occasions.
Heightened enforcement campaigns, which are sometimes called MEPs (Maximum Enforcement Periods), are self-funded and much more common. The exact procedure varies by department, but as a rule of thumb, officers are pulled off their normal beats and shifts, redeployed to a specific neighborhood at a specific time, and encouraged to write as many citations as possible for a certain offense, such as speeding or running a stoplight.
Traffic Ticket Defenses
The officer bias that may result from a STEP or heightened enforcement campaign is just one effective defense in court. Some other ones include:
- Technical Defects: While it is a popular myth that any mistake on a ticket triggers its dismissal, there are some defects that do lead to this result.
- Mistake of Fact: “Ignorance of the law is no excuse,” but it is impossible to follow the law when there is no sign or the signage is obscured. This issue often comes up at intersections, because red light cameras sometimes block signs or signals.
- Missing Elements: If workers are not present in a construction zone or children are not present in a school zone, it is difficult for the state to win these cases.
An attorney can also leverage these defenses during pretrial negotiations, to get the fine and/or points reduced.
Giving Drivers a Voice
The twin goals of roadway safety and revenue production mean that peace officers aggressively hand out traffic tickets. For a confidential consultation with an attorney who offers an equally aggressive response, contact the Bateman Law Firm. Our main office is conveniently located in Greenville.