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Law Enforcement Prepared for St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

March 20th, 2014 at 12:16 pm

underage drinking, holiday, St. Patrick's Day, Illinois, DUI, MIPSt. Patrick’s Day means ham and cabbage for some and imbibing substantial amounts of alcohol for others. Particularly for the college-age students, it seems that law enforcement in Illinois is aware of, and cracking down on, those who choose to participate in the latter.

 Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day

According to a recent article, law enforcement agencies met with representatives from the University of Illinois to discuss ways to mitigate the risks that are commonly associated with the celebration of unofficial St. Patrick’s Day. Even though both groups have tried to discourage people from participating in the event, they realize that some partake nonetheless.  According to police, the event promotes both underage and binge drinking and results in injuries and even fatalities in years past.

 Breaking the Law

Both law enforcement and University offices and agencies planned ahead of time to work together during the event to enforce laws relating to underage drinking, private parties, and drunk driving, among other hazards. They discussed holding tenants responsible for the conduct of any party attendees, including limiting the number of people on balconies and refraining from throwing objects from them, as required by local ordinances. Hosts of parties who violated any laws, including allowing alcohol consumption by those under 21, will face criminal charges and not solely a city ordinance violation.

However, if a life-threatening situation exists, such as in the case of alcohol poisoning, individuals were urged to call for help and to not avoid doing so for fear of criminal prosecution. These extraneous circumstances likely caused law enforcement to use discretion and choose not to assert the full extent of criminal penalties. As long as there is cooperation, citations from either law enforcement or the University will not be issued to those who call 9-1-1 for help in a dangerous situation.

 Preparing for Unofficial

In light of the holiday, many organizations participated in Walk as One, a program that is meant to spread alcohol safety information to students. Participants knocked on the doors of students to distribute the information directly. In addition to the walk, law enforcement also gave safety presentations to a number of student groups during the last several weeks, and plan on using social media to spread safety information as well.

However, it seems as though some of this preparation may be in vain. Law enforcement recognized that much of the problem lies with people who come to celebrate the holiday from outside communities and have no ties to the University. In fact, over half of the arrests made last year were of students who were not attending the University of Illinois. In that case, the University said it is prepared to contact other schools regarding student’s actions during the event.

Despite the effort of law enforcement and the University to create a safe environment, it is up to the participants of the event to be responsible. If participants choose not to be safe, it is clear that they should be prepared to face action by law enforcement resulting in criminal charges, and action by the school ranging from sanctions to dismissal.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI or alcohol related crime in the state of Illinois, an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you of your rights. Contact us today for a consultation.

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Written by Staff Writer

March 20th, 2014 at 12:16 pm

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