Home Politics CSLS: During Halloween in Athens, students are not invincible

CSLS: During Halloween in Athens, students are not invincible

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In some ways, Halloween in Athens is a lot like being in Vegas. Both have a lot of costumes and glitter, and both have a lot of losers. This year, make sure that your costume doesn’t change into jail bird orange at the stroke of midnight by remembering a few basic precautions.

Halloween in Athens has evolved from a rowdy, “unlawful” seizure of Court Street by thousands of celebrants to a sanctioned “street party” offering bandstands, food vendors, and tee-shirts.  As long as you don’t make a fool of yourself, engage in violence or violate the law blatantly by urinating or carrying an open beer in public, you will likely have a great night. However, there are some important things to keep in mind if you want to have a fun and stress-free experience.

The bars will charge covers and lines will be endless; seats will be treasured and bathrooms will be full. The police, of course will be everywhere—or almost. There will be roadblocks into Athens, with checkpoints for drugs, speeders or intoxicated drivers. In town, undercover officers will prowl Mill Street and watch the carry-outs, from their surveillance spots, stopping those groups where money or beer is passed. Quick to separate suspects and encourage confessions with threats of jail, the “under-covers” will easily score the most arrests for the night.

So what words of advice can a jaded defense attorney give the reader? Be polite.  If stopped by an officer, give only your name and address. Don’t answer other questions without your attorney (you can’t catch a fish unless it opens its mouth). Don’t argue with the police, particularly if you are told to move on or to leave. Travel with your friends. Don’t urinate in the alleys. Don’t try to run if you are told to stop. Always talk to a lawyer before pleading guilty. And, last but not least, no, you are not invincible—even if you have a Superman costume.

This column was brought to you by Managing Attorney, Patrick McGee, Staff Attorney, Melissa Greenlee, and Program Coordinator, Tracy Kelly, at The Center for Student Legal Services.

Additional notes: The Center for Student Legal Services (CSLS) is a non-profit law office created to educate, represent and protect Ohio University students in matters related to identity theft, landlord / tenant issues, alcohol consumption, contract reviews, traffic violations, misdemeanors, credit law and more. For more information, call us at 740-594-8093 or visit our office at 50 S. Court St., Suite D (above College Bookstore).

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