If you are a music fan in New Jersey, you will be in heaven during the coming months.
Performers such as Kenny Chesney, Coldplay and the Dave Matthews Band have already lined up dates at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel and MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford for spring and summer 2016, while music promoters are gearing up for annual music festivals such as the Hot97 Summer Jam and the Princeton Music Festival.
Festivals and concerts in New Jersey in the coming weeks and months will offer the chance to see your favorite performers with thousands of other fans at many other venues such as The Prudential Center in Newark or the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden.
Unfortunately, going to these events can lead to legal troubles if you are not careful.
As a New Jersey criminal defense lawyer, I have observed an increase in tickets and arrests among concert attendees every spring and summer.
With that in mind, before you head off to see a show, keep the following information in mind so you can enhance your safety and protect your legal rights at these upcoming events.
Common Tickets Given At Concerts
In recent years, law enforcement officers have engaged in mass ticketing and arrests at concerts and festivals in New Jersey.
For example, in 2014, a commotion broke out among thousands of young people that were exiting a train on the way to a Wiz Khalifa concert in August at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.
As NJ.com reports, authorities went through the crowd and issued a high number of citations for:
- Disorderly conduct ( NJSA 2C:33-2 )
- Underage possession or consumption of alcohol (NJSA 2C:33-15).
In 2015, the same artist drew similar crowds and issues with law enforcement officials, who cited concertgoers with the same types of infractions as well as for open containers and routine traffic violations at the event, according to NJ.com.
When you go to an event such as a concert or music festival, you should keep in mind that law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for such violations as public intoxication, underage drinking, (NJSA 2c:33-15) impaired driving (NJSA 39:4-50) and even minor traffic offenses.
Why Do People Get Arrested at Music Festivals and Concerts?
Unfortunately, concerts and festivals are events that often involve mass drinking and use and distribution of illegal drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and MDMA (otherwise known as ecstasy or “Molly.”)
Because of the risk of illegal and dangerous behavior at these events, promoters, venue owners and local government officials almost always take steps to ensure there is a strong law enforcement presence.
Certainly, this is important. Police and security officers can help to control crowds and prevent concert and festival goers from suffering serious injuries, including those that might be caused by alcohol or drug consumption or by violence.
Still, the need to protect the public does not allow law enforcement officers to infringe on one’s rights. If you believe your rights were violated at such an event, you should speak with a lawyer without delay.
Here’s How to Avoid Legal Troubles at NJ Concerts
With the help of ShowBams, a group of live music aficionados who attend concerts and festivals throughout the country, our law firm has assembled the following tips to help you to avoid problems with law enforcement while you are enjoying your favorite show:
- Be aware of guidelines regarding alcoholic beverages before attending a concert.
- If you notice something illegal taking place, steer clear of it. (If you have a good-faith belief that someone is facing imminent danger, you should report it right away.)
- Make sure that anyone in your party who is drinking is of legal age.
- Know your rights and document any altercations with security or police.
- Avoid overconsumption of alcohol beverages.
- Never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking.
How a New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help You
If you or someone you care about faces criminal charges, contact the Law Offices of Anthony J. Vecchio, LLC. I am an experienced criminal defense lawyer who understands the fright and confusion that a person can have after being arrested or ticketed at a concert, festival or other event. You can count on me to work tirelessly to protect your rights.