How To Avoid Common “Spring Break” Legal Offenses
Spring Break is a time many students at East Carolina University and Pitt Community College look forward to. It is time of fun, sun and hanging out with friends. A time to leave Greenville, NC and head to various vacation destinations. But, it can also be a time of making bad decisions that can land you and fellow spring breakers in trouble with the law. Don’t let your Spring Break end with an arrest or a criminal record. Here are some things you should know about the most common Spring Break offenses.
It is illegal to consume or even possess an alcoholic beverage if you are under the age of 21. Remember, the drink does not even have to be yours. Simply holding or touching an alcoholic beverage is enough to get an underage possession ticket. Law enforcement does not have to administer a breathalyzer test.
The most common ways to get caught with marijuana are smoking in hotel rooms, residence halls or vehicles. The odor of marijuana may give law enforcement probable cause to search your car or room. Keep in mind that, a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, even a small amount, can result in the loss of financial aid or driver’s licenses.
DWI or Underage Drinking and Driving
DWI and underage drinking and driving laws vary from state to state. However, you should know that you can receive a valid DWI charge anytime you are in actual physical control of a vehicle, which includes sleeping in the car with the keys in the ignition. DWI’s can be issued on any “motor vehicle,” not just a car. These “motor vehicles” can include motorcycles, boats and jet skis or other personal watercrafts.
Using another person’s driver’s license or identification as your own is a misdemeanor. It is a felony if the ID is not lawfully produced (if you bought it on the internet). Law enforcement officers have computers in their cruisers that can verify your identity. If you claim your ID as lost or stolen to obtain a new one to give to a friend, you can be charged with a misdemeanor too.
As you enjoy days on the beach and pool parties, remember that you can be arrested for public intoxication or disorderly conduct if you are visibly drunk or under the influence of drugs. Most states ONLY require that you appear intoxicated, rather than actually be intoxicated. Vomiting in public can be used as proof for public intoxication, but usually isn’t a crime in itself.
Many vacation destinations increase their patrol presence to coincide with Spring Break. Be mindful of all state traffic laws and speed limits. With increased patrol, you should be cautious of potential speed traps. Especially when traveling to a new place, be on the lookout for sudden drops in speed limits and monitor your speed on overpasses.
Most Spring Break legal problems can be avoided by using some common sense. Here are few things you should know (and do) before you embark on your Spring Break adventure.
- Research the laws of the state you are visiting, as well as any states you may drive through if you are road tripping.
- Make sure that your license, registration and insurance are all up-to-date.
- Don’t become involved in any known illegal activities.
- An officer does NOT need a warrant or consent to search your property if drugs, paraphernalia or open containers of alcohol are clearly visible.
- You have the right to remain silent – USE IT!
- If, in the unfortunate circumstance, you are approached by a police officer for any situation, don’t panic. Provide the basic information and follow all instructions. If you are charged with any offense make sure you consult with an attorney at The Robinson Law Frim immediately to inquire about your rights.
Spring Break can be a time that many students make unfavorable choices. Not knowing much about a state’s laws, if you are visiting out of town, can leave you in even more legal trouble. Fortunately, The Robinson Law Firm is dedicated to helping assist with any charges and ensure that your record is not tarnished by a night of bad decisions. We work with those effected by charges involving alcohol, drugs and other crimes. Contact The Robinson Law Firm immediately if you find yourself facing any of these charges.