Another weekend, another festival in Atlanta. Music Midtown is over and Tomorrowland, another one of the world’s biggest music festivals, is coming next. Thousands of people flock to Atlanta for concerts, music fests, art shows, and sporting events. It is the perfect opportunity to cut loose and have fun. But it is also the perfect opportunity to get into trouble.
Police swarm these events. Hundreds of officers in uniform and hundreds more undercover are lurking and waiting to turn your fun filled weekend into a nightmare. Thinking you are immune from getting arrested is the easiest way to make it happen. You will get careless and not take the proper precautions. I know what it’s like to get caught up in the revelry. Believe me. I’ve been there. But you have to be aware of your surroundings, and you need to know who to call if something goes wrong.
Drug charges involving marijuana, MDMA, methamphetamine, synthetic pot, molly and other party drugs, and alcohol charges like DUI and underage possession are probably the most common. But they are usually associated with other types of crimes, like theft offenses, assault / battery, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of law enforcement personnel.
Most people do not know how the system works. If you have a run-in with the police, one of three things is likely to happen to you.
- 1. you could be placed in handcuffs and taken to jail where you will have to post a bond to get out. This can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days, potentially longer depending on the severity and nature of the charge.
- 2. you could be given a citation, which acts more or less like a traffic ticket, requiring you to appear in court. It is very important to take this seriously. It is still an accusation of a criminal offense, and failure to appear in court results in very severe consequences such as a bench warrant for your arrest and suspension of your driver’s license (even if you live in another state). If you do live out of town, the best thing to do is call me to go to court for you to make sure that doesn’t happen.
- 3. the officer could cut you some slack and let you go with a warning. In which case you’ve gotten lucky. This is rare, but it does happen.
If you are a first offender, many of these types of offenses can be resolved in ways that allow us to keep your record clean. One question I get a lot is whether or not an incident like this already shows up on a person’s background check. If you have been arrested and fingerprinted, the answer is yes. Getting fingerprinted is what creates a criminal history. Diversion and pre-trial intervention programs are available in many jurisdictions (not all) for many types of misdemeanors, even some felony offenses.
The single best thing to do if something unlucky happens to you is call someone who can help you. You can call me any time. (678) 561-0411. We’ll talk about the circumstances that led to your arrest or citation and your best options moving forward. If you live out of town, we’ll talk about the best way to avoid you having to suffer the inconvenience of coming back (if possible) and avoiding an FTA and bench warrant.