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Tailgate parties can lead to unexpected consequences

Sports are a big part of Ohio life all year long. We also have some of the best entertainment venues in the country. While the weather isn’t always conducive to tailgate parties before a game or other event, it’s not hard to find one when it is.  

Even if tailgating is allowed at a stadium or other venue and you’re abiding by their rules, that doesn’t mean you can’t find yourself facing legal consequences. Let’s look at just two examples.

Open containers

It’s important to be careful when transporting alcohol to the party (and especially back home) that you don’t run afoul of the open container law. While that’s not going to get you jail time (unless you’ve been drinking), it could get you fined $150 and higher insurance rates. You can avoid that by keeping all of your alcohol locked away in the trunk.

Drinking (or being drunk) in your car 

Under Ohio’s OVI laws, you can be arrested if you’re found to be over the legal limit if you have “physical control” over the vehicle. Ohio defines this as “being in the driver’s position of the front seat of a vehicle…and having possession of the…ignition key or other ignition device.”

That definition isn’t as broad as in some states. However, it still means if you’re drinking at your tailgate party and go into your vehicle to make a phone call or get something, you could potentially be arrested for OVI. Even if you hand over your keys to someone else, if you have an app on your phone that can start your car, you could be considered to have “physical control” over it.

Police generally don’t show up at tailgate parties just to ruin everyone’s fun – even if it seems like it. You can avoid getting noticed at all by not creating (or letting your friends create) a scene with loud and aggressive behavior that’s going to attract attention.

If you find yourself facing criminal charges for OVI or other offenses, don’t minimize them. By getting legal guidance as soon as possible, you can better protect your rights and lessen the consequences.