A couple hundred thousand people and maybe as many cups of beer. That’s what Savannah area law enforcement is expecting at the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day festival. And for those taken into custody for various alcohol related offenses, you may have more luck avoiding a night in jail this year. That’s provided you have cash or a credit card.

“”I went and talked to Judge Stokes and Judge ODell and Judge Williams (in Chatham County Recorder’s Court) about three weeks about about St. Patricks’ since it’s going to be on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and a Sunday,” Chatham County Sheriff John Wilcher told us.

Wilcher says because a lot of people can be arrested over four days, he is trying to avoid clogging the jail. That’s why Wilcher asked the judges to clarify fines for violating certain city ordinances as well as certain misdemeanors. The result will be that those arrested will still be processed at the Chatham County Detention Center but many charged with certain crimes can pay their fine then and there and be released.. “Anything that is a misdemeanor or (violation of) city ordinances – we’re going to get them in and get them out as quick as we can.” says Wilcher.Ordinance Violations:

One drink on the street limit :                    $121

Size of cup: limited to 16 ounces:             $150

Drinking from can, bottle or glass:            $150

Drinking alcohol in parked motor vehicle: $150

Minor possessing or drinking  alcohol:     $250

Consuming alcohol in festival area

WITHOUT a wrist band:                           $100

Disorderly conduct by urinating in public: $200

Disorderly conduct : fighting, indecency:  $500

Wilcher says some crimes such as DUI will not be subject to the fine and release. He says anyone arrested on a DUI charge will still have to go to court and pay a bond. But court will be held at the jail on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Wilcher also says anyone arrested for one of the lesser alcohol related charges listed above who could not pay the fine via cash or credit card will also have to go to court and then try to bond out or try to be released on OR (own. recognizance).