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With one of the year’s biggest music festivals happening in the next couple weeks right here in Austin, it’s important to brush up on your knowledge of the law, and how to avoid any sort of sticky situation when you’re just trying to have fun. These big festivals, like ACL (Austin City Limits) can certainly provide memories that can last a lifetime for those who attend them, such as being able to see a favorite band perform for the first time or the potential of being able to meet them or even get a photo or autograph from them; however, those who attend them never want to end up with any kind of criminal conviction that can leave them with all sorts of negative consequences.

Those who choose to attend festivals are highly advised to keep in mind that using recreational drugs of any kind remains illegal in a majority of states. While there are some exceptions for recreational use of marijuana in some states, it still may not be legal for consumption on festival property. Check the laws of the state and the rules of the festival before bringing anything along with you. It is also common knowledge that consumption of alcohol is illegal for anyone in the United States who is under the legal drinking age of 21. There are also some festivals around the United States that are even implementing stricter policies involving searching attendees who purchase tickets for drugs and/or alcohol once they arrive to the event, no matter how long they plan on staying for the festivities.

Whenever someone makes the decision to purchase a festival ticket, there is the chance that it may include a disclaimer that they automatically agree to upon purchase, in which they subject themselves to a search on location. This is a rule commonly referred to as implied consent, which the legal community has debated for some time now. Previously, judges have issued rulings stating that no event can be permitted to search attendees on such a wide range and instead should implement searches that are limited and more defined, while also serving the larger interest of everyone else, such as searching for dangerous weapons.

Generally, festivals will take the step of hiring a private security firm or agency in order to provide assistance to local police departments, as well as to ensure that those attending the festival are as safe as possible and in no type of danger. Private security companies, however, are typically permitted to implement other rules of their own aside from various local police departments. These rules may not actually offer the same types of Constitutional protections.

Furthermore, private security companies are also permitted to conduct searches according to the specific rules of a festival. However, they are not permitted to make arrests. On the other hand, they do have the authority to detain an attendee, which is commonly referred to as a citizen’s arrest. This is a process that is done until the local police either arrive or have someone ejected from the festival itself without actually arresting them.

When someone is able to understand the rules as it pertains to attending a festival, those who choose to attend them will be able to have a much better experience not only for themselves, but for other attendees as well.

Thank you for visiting the Jarvis, Garcia, & Erskine blog. We write to inform Austin locals about law changes, events and news.