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Tailgating can be fun, but alcohol may put you at risk

As a football fan, you likely have many weekends this time of year planned in advance. Whether you are traveling to see an away game or staying local in Virginia, you know when you will be getting ready to cheer on your favorite team. In fact, you and a few friends may have standing plans to tailgate whenever you head to a game.

Tailgating is a pregame activity enjoyed by fans of numerous sports. You may consider football season your time to shine, and you do your part to participate in the tailgating experience. Of course, if your participation includes consuming alcohol, you may want to remember that irresponsible drinking and other actions could have negative consequences.

What's the worst that could happen?

Certainly, you want to get out and have a good time with your friends. However, you do not want any of your activities to go too far and land you in trouble with the law. Still, it may be easier than you think to come under the radar of law enforcement, so you may want to keep the following potential crimes in mind:

  • Public intoxication: If you drink too much and become unable to control your behavior, you could face a charge of public intoxication, especially if your actions become violent or destructive.
  • Driving under the influence: You may not have intended to drink and drive but having too many may cloud your judgment. If you end up behind the wheel, you could easily end up facing a DUI charge.
  • Minor in possession: If you are under the age of 21, you might convince an older tailgater to give you a beer or maybe even lie and say you are 21. If this happens and police question you, you could end up facing a charge for minor in possession.
  • Public urination: Alcohol can quickly cause a person to need to use the restroom, but if you cannot get to the restroom, you may think you can step behind some bushes or a tree to relieve yourself. However, public urination is against the law, and you could even face an indecent exposure charge.

While alcohol can have its place in festivities when used appropriately and responsibly, it is important to remember that it can quickly cause a situation to get out of hand as well. If you end up facing criminal charges relating to alcohol after tailgating, you may want to explore your legal options.

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Ronald E. Smith, P.C.

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