It is important to know how to stay safe and legal during fests and parties. Last year alone, 170 people were arrested at Palmer Fest and 5 people were taken to the hospital for “event related injuries”. Fall semester fests are upon us and everyone wants to have a good time, but it’s important to know how to have fun and stay out of legal trouble. Here are 5 tips to stay legal at fest season.
1) Monitor your party
Hosting a party can be a great time, especially during fest season. But uninvited guests can turn a party into a sticky situation. Opening your party up to the public invites not only your friends and the attendees of the fest, but also undercover police officers. Make sure to check the IDs of your guests if you choose to have an open party. Wrist bands are an easy and inexpensive way to reduce the chances of being charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor. Another way to help limit the guests is to post a sign signifying that the party is invited guests only. There are examples of these signs on our website in the Downloads section.
2) Keep the alcohol on private property
Numerous citations are made every year during fest season for having open containers of alcohol on public property. Fests take place on just one street and it is impossible for each party to contain the hundreds of people who attend the fest. Without the extra room, attendees spill out onto the streets and sidewalks to continue the partying. Having an open container on a public street or sidewalk is illegal and will not go unnoticed with the police that patrol the streets. Stay safe and stay off the streets and sidewalk with a drink in your hand. If you are of legal drinking age and you leave private property carrying a cup, you might want to empty it and carry it upside down. If you are underage, never carry a cup onto public property even if it is upside down or you aren’t drinking.
3) Know your limit
It’s always fun to drink out in the sun, but drinking in the heat can be dangerous. That cool one you just put down is actually dehydrating your body. You could experience heat exhaustion after drinking outside for hours, so be sure to drink plenty of water. Being drunk and dehydrated can cause you to pass out, which is not only bad for your body, it signals nearby law enforcement that you are publicly intoxicated, which is illegal. Even if you get sick and end up in the emergency room, the police will STILL cite you for public intoxication (and underage if you are under 21). Know when to say enough is enough.
4) Don’t drink and drive
This may seem like a no brainer, but it can be tempting to drive instead of walk for the beer run when you “have only had a few”. The legal limit of .08% blood alcohol content for legal adults can add up quickly. Don’t let your party guests drive under the influence; you can be held civilly liable if something happens. See our party guide for more information.
5) Don’t confess
You always have the right to remain silent. If you are approached by police, be polite and do not argue. Give them your name and address. You do not have to tell them anything else. They can and probably will arrest you anyway, but it is harder to be convicted if you don’t incriminate yourself.
The Center for Student Legal Services hopes that we can be your resource for any questions and concerns about legally and safely enjoying fest season. For more tips on fest and party safety, visit the Downloads section of our website.
Kari Nickell, CSLS Marketing Intern
Patrick McGee, Managing Attorney
Heidi Sochia, Program Coordinator
As Ohio University prepares for the big switch from quarters to semesters, we are also preparing to change our fee structure to go along with the new system. Don’t worry, we will still be offering low cost affordable legal services!
The legal service fee, listed as an option on your tuition bill, is currently $8.00 per quarter, including summer session. That’s a total of $32.00 for the entire school year. Starting in the 2012-2013 school year, our fee will become $12.00 per semester and $8.00 for summer session. That’s still a total of $32.00 per school year. To adjust for two semesters instead of three quarters, our fees have simply shifted but there is no overall increase.
Don’t panic when you see $12.00 on your tuition bill and think we’ve raised our fee! Remember, the fee is just spread out differently over semesters. We appreciate your continued support of our program!