Football season is just around the corner, and that means that fans from all over the country will be filling stadiums and stadium parking lots every Saturday and Sunday (and some Thursdays and Mondays) all Fall. There will be lots of cheering, grilling, and beer drinking along with the other traditions of the gridiron. But with all that school spirit comes a lot of emotion and sometimes bad decisions. When you hit the tailgate parties this fall, make sure you use good sense and don’t wind up getting arrested for one of these six offenses.
States may have different laws when it comes to public intoxication or “drunk and disorderly” offenses, but a good rule of thumb is to mind your manners when you are consuming alcohol. If you appear to be a danger to yourself or others, law enforcement may approach you.
If you are under the age of 21, you should not be drinking, period. It is illegal to consume alcoholic beverages if you are not yet 21. Even if you are 20 and 11 months, you can get in trouble with the law for underage drinking. Avoid the beer and offer to be a designated driver and make sure your friends get home safely to avoid a potential run-in with the law.
We might as well get all the drinking offenses out of the way early because we all know someone who enjoys throwing back a few at every tailgate. Just because it’s football season and you’re driving around a parking lot, it does not mean that you can jump behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. Anytime you are intoxicated, and behind the wheel, you run the risk of being pulled over and charged with DUI.
Do yourself a favor and designate a driver who plans on remaining sober, or better yet, opt to use a ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft ride to and from your tailgate.
Assault and Battery
Everyone goes into a game hoping that his or her team will win, and many times this means that tensions are high in the parking lot before kick-off. If you decide to fight an opposing fan, you are putting yourself at risk of getting arrested for assault and battery. Instead of swinging fists, challenge your parking lot opponent to a competitive game of touch football.
It’s hard to hold it in when you’ve been drinking since 6 AM, and the game doesn’t even start until 3:30PM. Use good judgment and time your bathroom breaks to leave enough room for waiting in line at the port-o-john. You don’t want to get caught with your pants down and have to explain to an officer why you’re urinating next to his patrol car.
There may be a lot going on in the parking lot before a game between tents, open tailgates, and pedestrians walking around, but that makes it more important to pay attention while driving. Focus on not bumping someone else, because even a “bump-and-run” can get you in trouble later. If there is an accident of some kind, make sure you stop and take proper measures to ensure everyone is OK and all necessary information is shared.
If you are arrested at a tailgate for any of the above reasons or others, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. Your attorney can help you through the process of defending the charges against you.
Lu, A. (n.d.). Top 5 Ways to Get Arrested While Tailgating. Retrieved from https://blogs.findlaw.com/tarnished_twenty/2012/10/top-5-ways-to-get-arrested-while-tailgating.html