The Major League Baseball Playoffs begin next week and the Philadelphia Phillies are expected to be in the race toward the World Series as a Wild Card Team! The games at Citizens Bank Park will be sold out with over 40,000 thousands fans in Philadelphia. In addition, a countless numbers of parties will occur in homes, bars and other establishments throughout the Philadelphia as well the surrounding counites of Delaware, Chester, Bucks and Montgomery. Every baseball playoff game, regardless of the outcome, will generate excitement, massive crowds and likely overconsumption of food and alcohol. This combination sometimes leads to criminal problems for fans and their families.
As I’ve stated in many of my previous blog articles and strategy books, a criminal problem can happen at any time but there is a greater chance that this could happen whenever there is a large gathering of people and alcohol such as post playoff game win or loss!
The most common crimes and offenses our law firm encounters following any large sporting event like the baseball playoffs are the following:
- Disorderly conduct
- Underage drinking
- Criminal mischief
- Drunk driving
While it is important to understand that the majority of offenses are misdemeanors and in some cases summary offenses as opposed to felony crimes, each could substantially hinder or derail a professional or academic career. Our law firm has represented individuals who maintain different professional positions in health care, law enforcement, and business. Even a minor charge could cause an organization to terminate a person to avoid embarrassment or negative publicity. This is why it is so important to hire a qualified criminal defense lawyer if you are charged with a criminal offense.
A person commit disorderly conduct in Pennsylvania if he or she, (1) with the intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, engages in fighting or threatening or some other violent behavior; (2) makes unreasonable noise; (3) uses obscene language or an obscene gesture; (4) creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by an act which serves no legitimate purpose (See Title 18, Section 5503 of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code).
Disorderly conduct is graded as a misdemeanor of the 3rd degree if the actor causes substantial harm or serious inconvenience; otherwise it is a summary offense. Keep in mind that the maximum punishment for a misdemeanor of the 3rd degree is 1 year of state prison while the maximum punishment for a summary offense in the Commonwealth is 90 days in the county jail. A disorderly conduct charge is very common in large groups of intoxicated or drunk persons. Our criminal defense law firm has represented individuals charged with this offense following music concerts, sporting events, or public celebrations.
Underage Drinking (See Title 18, Section 6308)
In Pennsylvania, underage drinking is a summary offense and a person commits it if he or she, being less than 21 years of age, attempts to purchase, purchases, consumes, or knowingly and intentionally transports any liquor, malt, or brewed beverage. It is very important to understand that if a person is charged or convicted of this offense there is a maximum fine of $500.00 (first offense) but more importantly a 90 day, driver’s license suspension. Please keep in mind that some people incorrectly believe transporting of alcohol, in and of itself, is not a criminal offense in Pennsylvania, but this is simply wrong!
Criminal Mischief; Title 18, Section 3304
Similar to disorderly conduct, criminal mischief is another crime that our firm encounters during public events and celebrations in Philadelphia or its surrounding counties of Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester. A person commits criminal mischief in Pennsylvania if he or she damages property of another intentionally or recklessly. Damaging includes defacing the property.
Unlike disorderly conduct, criminal mischief can be graded as a felony of the 3rd degree if the person causes a loss in excess of $5,000.00 or substantially interrupts public communication, transportation, or some other public service like such as the operation of Septa bus, trolley, regional rail or subway. This crime is a misdemeanor of the 2nd degree if the loss or damage is over $1,000.00 but less than $5,000.00, and a misdemeanor of the 3rd degree if the damage is less than $1000.00 but over $500.00. Criminal mischief is a summary offense if the damage is less than $500.00 but more than $150.00.
Drunk Driving (DUI/DWI; Title 75, Section 3802)
I’ve written a number of articles and done videos on drunk driving in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I encourage you to read more about this practice area. Drunk driving is an offense that not only carries with it mandatory minimum county jail time in some cases, but also a drivers license suspension. It’s important to remember that if you’re stopped for drunk driving you should never refuse a chemical test (blood or breathalyzer).
Remember that police must have probable cause to stop and arrest you for DUI and motions to suppress evidence based on a lack of probable cause or reasonable suspicion is a very strong defense tool for your criminal lawyer in these cases. I have also written articles on field sobriety testing which is an important aspect of these cases.
Our law firm wishes the Philadelphia Phillies the best of luck in the playoffs!
Hopefully, you will never need our service but please know we are ready to stand with you during life’s most difficult moments.
Our Philadelphia criminal defense attorneys are licensed in Pennsylvania & New Jersey. They serve the accused throughout the Philadelphia, Abington, Atlantic City, Bensalem, Berlin, Bristol, Camden, Cape May, Cheltenham, Cherry Hill, Chester, Conshohocken, Haddonfield, Horsham, Lansdale, Lower Merion Township, Maple Shade, Media, Mount Laurel, Norristown, Pottstown, Runnemede, Salem, Upper Darby, Upper Dublin, Upper Merion Township, Upper Providence, Vineland, Voorhees & Woodbury areas.