How To Avoid Getting Arrested At Athens Fests

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Thirty-three people were arrested at Palmer fest on Saturday and about 102 other people have been arrested at the other fests so far this year. Most offenses are alcohol and drug related with a significant number of arrests being of Ohio University students. 

Isaac Smith, the Assistant Director of Students Defending Students, says that the two most important to be aware of when at a fest if open container laws and fake IDs. 

"Really, don't be obnoxious. Don't be the person that stands out to the police officers," Smith says. "What a lot of people don't know is that once you're arrested, the police officer has a right to search you. So they'll go through your wallet and if you have a fake ID, they'll find it." 

Possessing a fake ID can lead to additional criminal charges and students may even face suspension or expulsion from Ohio University. 

Ohio law prohibits having an open container of alcohol on public property and many arrests result from students walking on public sidewalks with a flask, cup or beer can, Smith says. 

"A lot of people don't know that a flask is considered an open container if its not all the way sealed (with an unbroken seal,)" Smith said. 

The Black Students Cultural Programming Board organized a Fest Safety event Wednesday to give out informational packets to students with facts about fests and how to stay safe. 

"I encourage them to be intentional bystanders (at fests)," Dr. Winsome Chunnu, adviser of BSCPB said. "If there's a student throwing up or looks lost, its okay to get involved and to ask them, to be proactive of taking care of each other."

Ohio University student Gabriella Aziz was arrested her freshmen year for having an open can of beer outside the Number Fest. She thinks her getting arrested was not fair. 

"Because 15 minutes later, I saw some idiot jumping from porta-potty to porta-potty on the top and fell…and was a disaster. And nothing happened to him but I got caught, sitting there minding my own businness, drinking a beer," Aziz said.  

However if you are ever arrested, Smith says to always be compliant or risk a failure to comply charge added to your list of offenses.