Doing Drugs at a Music Festival? Here's Some Legal Advice on Handling the Police

Categories: Festivals

Timothy Norris
This dude's actually drug free. But he still knows his rights
Hate to say it, but some of you at Austin Psych Fest (which starts Friday!) are going to be approached by police officers assuming you have drugs. Well, you just may, but guess what? You still have rights, man.

Cameron Bowman is here to help! As a music festival lover and attorney at San Jose firm Valencia, Ippolito & Bowman, he's a legal expert on this kind of thing. Bowman, aka The Festival Lawyer, talks below about the best ways to protect yourself if you're approached by the fuzz at this fest (or any other).

1. Festivals are crawling with undercover cops

If you're doing anything illegal, don't be blatant about it.

Credit: Nanette Gonzales
"No officer, you cannot search my headdress."

2. Memorize a few key phrases

"If a cop comes up and asks to see your ID," Bowman says, "the first question out of your mouth should be, 'Am I being detained?' Then, 'Why? What am being stopped for? Am I free to go, or am I under arrest?'"

Memorize this. Repeat it out loud: "Am I being detained? Why? Am I free to go, or am I under arrest?"

With these questions, you establish whether you are being arrested and transform any subsequent detention into a scenario in which the officer has to justify stopping you. Somebody looking at that explanation later will then make a decision about whether the officer had a good reason to stop you, which might make your case easier to defend.



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4 comments
Andrea Dell
Andrea Dell

No matter what you are doing, you should know how to respectfully assert your rights! Thanks for sharing it.

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