North Carolina Students Cited for Open Container Violations
Movies and television often portray college life as including alcohol. The news media cover stories about alcohol related incidents involving students. North Carolina DWI attorneys note, however, that alcohol related convictions on a student’s record do not necessarily go away upon graduation. Each school has their own policies regarding alcohol. North Carolina police officers also look to enforce alcohol related laws.
In Chapel Hill, police have been cracking down on alcohol violations. Chapel Hill Police say that open container violations are significantly up this year compared to 2009. Between August 24, 2010, and October 11, 2010, Chapel Hill police have issued 126 open container citations. Last year, officers issued 20 during the same time frame.
Chapel Hill police spokesman, Lieutenant Kevin Guntner says the department chose to focus on open container violations “because it is something that occurs in the public’s eye.” A task force comprised of Chapel Hill police, Carrboro law enforcement and the University of North Carolina Department of Public Safety specifically target alcohol violations.
Guntner says the task force focus changed this year to open container violations due to pressure from downtown businesses. The business owners were concerned about the number of people that were openly drinking on sidewalks in the business district. It is not just students that are involved. Lieutenant Pat Burns remains a liaison with the police department. He says home football games attract tailgaters who violate the ordinance.
Guntner says the number of citations for underage consumption and underage possession has decreased this year. He believes that officers are handling complaints differently. Some experts believe that past court rulings involving unlawful searches and seizures during raids of student parties that resulted in dismissed charges may explain the reduced citations for consumption and possession. The task force also changed gears this year to target open container violations.
Source: The Daily Tar Heel, “Open container citations multiply sixfold in Chapel Hill,” Victoria Stilwell, 14 Oct 2010