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Ask a Columbus Drunk Driving Attorney: What Are Ohio’s Tailgating Laws?

It takes more than a Solo cup to bypass police during football season.

As college football season kicks off, the weekend warrior football fans are out in full force. If you’re planning on hitting the pre-game parties this fall, now might be a good idea to brush up on the written (and unwritten) rules of tailgating.

Tailgating is one of those in-between gray areas where drinking alcohol is not technically legal, but most people do and get away with it anyway. Similar to drinking alcohol at a festival, if you’re calm, polite and composed, you’ll typically be fine, even when law enforcement is around.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that possession and consumption of alcohol in a public place are still arrestable offenses. And while the police don’t usually target peaceful tailgaters for public intoxication, it’s essential that you know that they have a legal right to do so.

Remember, ‘everyone else was doing it’ is not a defense that’s going to hold any water in a court of law.

Still, it’s unlikely that hardcore Buckeye fans are going to change their weekend traditions anytime soon, legal or not. So, if you’re going to tailgate anyway, just make sure you follow some basic, common sense rules:

  • Don’t be aggressive or start fights. Sure, it’s easy to get riled up around fans from rival sports teams, but all it does is call unwanted attention to yourself and any friends you may be tailgating with.
  • Don’t urinate in public. Take the extra time and go find an appropriate bathroom.
  • Don’t flaunt your public drinking, especially when police are around. Keep everything cool and low key, and keep alcoholic beverages in unmarked containers.
  • Don’t drink if you’re under 21. If you get caught, that’ll be two charges (public consumption and underage drinking).
  • Don’t wander away from the tailgating area with a drink in your hand. If you need to leave the tailgate area, leave any alcoholic beverages behind.

Contact a drunk driving lawyer

While sticking to these unspoken rules should keep you out of trouble, it’s not a guarantee by any means. At the end of the day, drinking at a tailgate party is still public consumption, and possibly intoxication.

So, if you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime at a tailgating party or other public event, contact one of Yavitch & Palmer’s Columbus drunk driving lawyers. They specialize in OVI’s along with other alcohol-related crimes, and can research every detail of your case to see if they can get your charges reduced, or even entirely thrown out.

Call Yavitch & Palmer today at 614-224-6142 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment at our Downtown Columbus office to discuss your case.

Photo credits: mooresrv.com and cbe.osu.edu

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