Music festivals in Alabama and nationwide are a convenient and fun way for young people to listen to their favorite bands over a few days or an entire week. Some of these festivals will also involve camping or overnight parties that include alcohol and drug use. While concert-goers should make safety a priority, they should also be concerned about potential criminal liability when attending a concert. Law enforcement officials are often present, even undercover, at festivals and could be targeting attendees who are suspected of possession, distribution, or trafficking.
In a recent case, an Alabama man was arrested at the Gulf Shores Hangout music festival in May. He was charged with possession of MDMA pills, as well as a small amount of marijuana. MDMA, or mollies, are a common party drug at music festivals. Possession can carry serious fines and penalties for those charged with intent to distribute or distribution. Our Birmingham drug crimes defense attorneys are experienced in providing strategic advocacy and counsel to individuals who are charged or arrested. We also want to raise awareness for concert-goers this summer to remember that “open-air” festivals do not mean free-for-all. Law enforcement officials are watching and waiting to make drug-related arrests.
Often there will be security guards patting down concert-goers to prevent them from bringing in guns, drugs, paraphernalia, or other prohibited items. Individuals who get past the security team with Mollies, marijuana, cocaine, or other drugs may use it as an opportunity to sell to attendees inside the festival. According to Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, officers were prepared at the concert to make a number of arrests while monitoring the show. This means that anyone who is suspected of using drugs, possession, distribution, trafficking, or other drug-related crime could be arrested, charged and face serious penalties under Alabama law. Remember that Alabama also has some of the most severe penalties for non-violent offenders.
Alabama and out of state residents who are traveling for other festivals should be wary of potential liabilities when crossing state lines. In the event of drug charges or arrest when out of state, a local attorney can help review your case and protect your rights. In addition to drug crimes, concert goers may face any number of other criminal charges. At the Hangout Music Festival in Alabama, drinking and drug-related charges included, 13 charges for possession of a controlled substance, 10 for possession of marijuana, five for public intoxication, and four for possession of drug paraphernalia. Other attendees were charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, obstruction of justice, and felony possession of marijuana.
If you were stopped in a vehicle, or searched while at a music festival, remember that you do have rights. The Constitution protects you from unlawful infringement of your 4th Amendment rights. As with any drug defense investigation, an experienced attorney can review the circumstances of your arrest, identify any illegal conduct by the officers, and seek to suppress any evidence against you when necessary.