Tailgating at football games is a time-honored tradition for many college students. It’s a great way to show support for your school and team, and it’s also a great opportunity to socialize with other fans. However, tailgating can also be a potential minefield for criminal activity. Especially for students at Mizzou, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks of tailgating so that you can stay safe and avoid criminal charges.
If you’re a student planning to tailgate at Mizzou football games, be aware of some of the following common criminal issues that you could face.
One of the most common criminal issues that students face when tailgating is fake ID charges. Many students mistakenly believe that possessing a fake ID is not a big deal, but it can actually lead to serious consequences. In Missouri, it is illegal for anyone under 21 years of age to possess or use a fake ID. If you are caught with a fake ID, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and could face jail time, up to $1,000 in fines, community service, or revocation of your driver’s license.
Another common criminal issue that students face when tailgating is assault charges. Often, alcohol consumption can lead to altercations between fans of opposing teams. If you are involved in a fight, you could be charged with assault, which in Missouri, could be a misdemeanor offense but can also rise to a level where the conduct is punishable by 5-15 years in prison for a Class B felony, or 10-30 years for a Class A felony. An assault charge can have a lasting effect on your life, so it is critical to avoid any physical altercations while tailgating.
Another potential criminal issue that can arise from tailgating is minor in possession (MIP) charges. If you are caught drinking alcohol under the age of 21, you could be charged with MIP. In Missouri, a first offense could carry a $500 fine and a suspension of your driver’s license. 3 or more offenses can result in a year in jail along with additional fines and possible revocation of your driver’s license.
Finally, another criminal issue that students need to be aware of when tailgating is possession of marijuana charges. In Missouri possession of 10 grams or less is considered a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine. Anything above that can result in jail time as well.
If you are tailgating near the Harry S. Truman Veteran’s Hospital, be aware that it is federal property. This means that any criminal activity could lead to federal charges. Whether you are caught with a fake ID, alcohol, or marijuana, federal charges could result in harsher punishment than if you were on the University of Missouri property. Federal crimes are considered more serious than those at the state level, and sentencing guidelines are typically more severe.
If you are charged with any type of crime while tailgating, it is important to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. A qualified attorney can help you understand the charges against you and protect your legal rights.
Tailgating is a fun and enjoyable activity for many college students, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks. While many people view tailgating as a time to relax and have fun with friends, possessing alcohol or drugs, engaging in fights, or using a fake ID can lead to criminal charges. These are all serious offenses that can carry severe ramifications. A skilled Columbia criminal defense attorney will thoroughly review your case and the evidence to get the best possible outcome for you, should you face any of these charges. They’ll interview witnesses, review police reports, and work to get the charges against you reduced or dismissed. They will also help you navigate the criminal justice system and ensure that you are treated fairly.
If you’ve been charged with a crime while tailgating in Columbia, it’s important to seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The lawyer you choose can make all the difference in the outcome of your case. The skilled criminal defense attorneys at the Law Office of Chris Miller have successfully represented clients facing a wide range of charges, including those arising while tailgating. We understand the lasting effects that a criminal conviction can have on your life and work to get the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today for a free consultation.