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Do police target tourists to make arrests?

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2017 | Criminal Defense, Firm News |

Whether you are planning a quick weekend getaway or a relaxing week-long vacation, Sturgis is a popular destination to hit. The town is home to the annual motorcycle rally, but there are plenty of other attractions that draw tourists to the area, too. No matter the nature of your visit, nothing will throw a wrench in your plans like getting arrested by local law enforcement.

The aggression police officers maintain even towards tourists might surprise you. In some cases, it may seem that tourists are a target of law enforcement. There are a few reasons why police may target tourists for arrest more frequently than others in the area.

Tourists might be drinking

When you are visiting, vacationing and relaxing, you are likely to throw back a few drinks, too. There is nothing wrong with this, but drinking might be a precursor to behavior that lands you in trouble. According to the Center for Disease Control, South Dakota’s drunk driving rate is above the national average, so police are likely to be particularly vigilant in arresting tourists suspected of DUI.

Rallies may encourage recklessness

One of the biggest tourist draws South Dakota has to offer — the aforementioned motorcycle rally — is a fun gathering for enthusiasts across the nation. Police may target it, though, to catch riders who are speeding or breaking other traffic laws. If you are pulled over for a traffic violation but found to be in possession of marijuana, the situation can quickly escalate.

Marijuana laws are different

Many visitors come to South Dakota from states where marijuana is legal. Even if your home state allows the drug, bringing it into the state remains a crime. If law enforcement catches you with it, you will be arrested and charged. Tourists who are unaware of this may unknowingly commit a crime simply by travelling with a substance they believe to be legal. Make sure you know the rules of the state before making a trip.