York County, S.C. – A local father is in shock about why he almost went to jail, while jet skiing with his son in South Carolina.
Bob Graves says officers with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources stopped him for expired tags and then forced him to pay a cash bond or go to jail on Father’s Day.
Graves told NBC Charlotte that he felt like he was being treated like a criminal for having expired tags on his jet skis. That’s when he started recording the interaction on his phone.
The video shows Graves saying “Happy Father’s Day” to the DNR officers.
Graves went from bonding with his son on Father’s Day to paying bond to stay out of jail.
“Because my registration was expired, they were going to require me to pay $160 cash or haul me to jail right there on Father’s Day,” says Graves.
Graves says he was testing the jet skis to see if they still worked with his 13-year-old son, Ryan.
“I was treated like a criminal, for a registration violation,” says Graves.
“We don’t make the laws, we obviously enforce them,” says First Sergeant Brady Branham, with South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
However, the DNR says throwing someone in jail is typically a last resort for the officers.
“If they (officers) have to follow a person to an ATM, they’ll do that. They’ll do what they can to procure that bond versus taking them into custody,” says First Sergeant Branham.
The DNR says having expired tags is a misdemeanor for out of state residents because South Carolina does not have a mutual agreement with North Carolina to enforce boating laws.
“We don’t have a way to make sure the terms of the citation are enforceable,” says First Sergeant Branham.
“The laws are different depending on if you are on one side of the lake or the other, that’s ridiculous,” says Graves.
Graves was able to pay the $160 to stay out of jail, but he still has to go to court for the pending charge against him. He tells NBC Charlotte he plans to fight the case in court.
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