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Top 5 Surprising Reasons You Can Get Arrested at a Columbus Festival

arrested at music festival - criminal defense lawyer columbus ohio

And why you should call a Columbus criminal defense lawyer if you are.

As the weather warms up, so do the music festivals. It’s easy to get lost in the music and the vibe and feel like you’ve been transported to another place. Just remember, the law still applies in this magical music wonderland.

While some festivals can seem a little, shall we say, lax in applying the law, you may forget that you can get arrested at a music festival until it happens to you. Here’s a rundown of some offenses that can end your festival experience early this summer — and why you might want to keep the number of our Columbus criminal defense lawyers handy before you go.

arrested at music festival - criminal defense lawyer columbus ohio

1. Carrying drugs at a festival.

There’s just something in the air at a music festival. Usually it’s accompanied by an unmistakable smell.

Look, illicit substances and music festivals are like peanut butter and jelly to some people. Just look at all the inventive ways people have found to smuggle drugs in past security — from hiding drugs inside everyday objects to taping or supergluing your stash to parts of the body where you don’t usually want tape or superglue.

So if you got something inside the festival, what happens when that guy wearing way too much tie-dye turns out to be an undercover cop? In the state of Ohio, you may be charged with possession of a controlled substance. This charge can range from a minor misdemeanor for marijuana to a range of felonies, depending on the substance and quantity.

Want to know more? Check out our rundown of some frequently asked questions about drug possession.

2. Selling drugs at a festival.

Any festival that brings out a lot of music lovers will also attract some, ahem, budding entrepreneurs. It’s the law of supply and demand in effect. But selling drugs can also be a pretty serious charge.

The likely charge in Ohio would be trafficking in drugs. Again, the severity of that charge depends on what you’re accused of selling and how much. What’s it like to have your festival cut short on this charge? Read this tale of getting arrested at Coachella.

3. Disorderly conduct at a festival.

Sometimes you can look around a music festival and it seems like everyone is drunk. You may think you have to do something special to stand out from this crowd, but believe us, it can be done.

There’s no actual offense for public intoxication under Ohio law, but if the combination of booze and dehydration (seriously, drink water) makes you belligerent, you might end up charged with disorderly conduct.

The broad definition of this charge includes being intoxicated and engaging “in conduct likely to be offensive or to cause inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm to persons of ordinary sensibilities” or anything that risks harm to another person or property.

A lot of things that sound like a good idea when you’ve been drinking can end up here.

4. Underage consumption at a festival.

If you’re imbibing in legal substances at a festival and you’re under the age of 21, yep, you’re going to be in bigger trouble.

The penalties for underage consumption present a different set of consequences. Let’s just say it’s a bad idea, kids. Just because someone at the beer tent bought your fake ID doesn’t mean a cop at the festival won’t ask to see it if he thinks you look too young for that drink in your hand.

5. Assault charges at a festival.

What happens when the good vibe goes bad?

Music festivals often mix alcohol, heat and crowds. Someone is bound to bump into you, and if you don’t keep your head, that situation can quickly get physical.

A confrontation like this could land you a charge of assault. The severity of your charge and punishment vary depending on the circumstances, but various assault charges can range from a 3rd-degree misdemeanor to a 4th-degree felony.

What to do if you are arrested at a music festival.

If you get stopped by police at a festival in Ohio, the general rules of a police interaction apply. Stay calm. Be courteous. Ask if you are being detained or placed under arrest. And don’t answer questions without advice from a criminal defense attorney. (You might want to go ahead and put our number in your phone before the festival: 614-224-6142).

If you are arrested and facing charges from a music festival, you need the services of the experienced criminal defense lawyers at Yavitch & Palmer. Give us a call to discuss the details of your case or use our contact form to schedule an appointment at our Downtown Columbus office.

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