Spring Break: 11 things you should know, legally

Spring Break: 11 things you should know, legally

That sweet time finally has come after a dreary winter: Spring Break.  Countless thousands of partying college students will flood beaches from South Padre Island to Port Aransas to Galveston.  Try your best to stay safe while you have a good time.

While you’re at it, try not to regret it the rest of your life.

You can find plenty of information about where to stay, what to do, and what the weather will be.   Here’s something you won’t see on the news:

  1. Police will go where the parties are, just like you.  They will arrest hundreds each week and issue perhaps thousands of tickets in Port Aransas, Rockport, and Corpus Christi alone.  Local police departments are joined by state troopers, county constables, sheriff’s deputies, alcohol enforcement agents, game wardens (yes, they can arrest you, too), and just about any law enforcement officer who isn’t busy elsewhere.
  2. One of the worst things you can do at Spring Break is talking to a cop or interacting with cops.  Cops are NOT there to help you.  They are not looking for ways to make life easy for you.  The primary reason the cops are there is crowd control.  Arresting people and issuing tickets are tools cops use to try to control crowds.  If people see cops making arrests and issuing tickets, people might be less inclined to misbehave. 
  3. Providing alcohol to someone under 21 can land you in jail.  It is not just a ticket.
  4. If you are under 21 and drive after consuming ANY alcohol, you can lose your driver license, EVEN IF YOU AREN’T DRUNK AT ALL.  DUI doesn’t require you to be intoxicated.  No breath test is required.  No sobriety tests have to be administered.  It is a zero-tolerance law. Drink + drive + under 21 = DUI.  DUI applies ONLY to people under 21 and means “driving under the influence.” Driving while intoxicated, or DWI, is the “drunk driving” crime in Texas.
  5. Driving a golf cart in Port Aransas instead of a car or truck won’t keep you from getting arrested.
  6. Texas arrests more people for small amounts of marijuana than any other state. You can be fined and jailed for even tiny amounts of weed. You could lose your driver licenseUPDATE FOR STUDENTS – GOOD NEWS: Drug convictions no longer ruin your eligibility for federal student aid. Don’t take that to mean legal consequences from using, selling, or possessing drugs don’t have major consequences. Also, the federal government could change its rule back to what it was.
  7. Even minor criminal cases (misdemeanors) could result in deportation for non-citizens.
  8. Arrest records are public records, so your name and face can be plastered all over the internet.  There’s not much, if anything, you can do about it.  
  9. Simply paying the fine for any kind of ticket = conviction = permanent record.  Don’t do it.
  10. Many people forget they are carrying illegal drugs on their way north from South Padre Island.  Border Patrol Checkpoints have drug-sniffing dogs and stay busy busting those people. Don’t be one of those people.
  11. If you get arrested in Port Aransas, you may be in for a long, uncomfortable experience.  Roughly 40 miles lies between Port Aransas and the Nueces County jail.  The 45-minute drive may take many hours.  Traffic moves slowly because of the crowds.  What might normally take a few hours could be a day or more.    They won’t take you one at a time.  You’ll be transported with others in a group.  Cops don’t want to make frequent trips to the county jail.  They miss out on arrests and tickets every minute they are on the road.

You need a lawyer who is routinely familiar with dealing with students trying to protect their futures.  When you are looking for that coveted job after graduation, you don’t want to miss out because of a youthful indiscretion. You’ll want to zealously protect your record.  That awful moment in time shouldn’t define who you are, but some people choosing who gets your dream job may disagree. 

Phillip W. Goff has been handling cases for students in university communities for well over 20 years and has seen just about anything you can bring him.  See for yourself what his clients say about him. Go ahead, Google his review. Don’t go it alone, even if it’s “just” a ticket.  Contact Phillip W. Goff immediately.