Fear And Loathing at the Big Game
Houston, we may have a problem. After a little over a decade, the big game is finally back in town. That means a lot of big-spending tourists looking to experience everything that Houston has to offer… and we all know that doesn’t just mean the art museum and the zoo.
In the time before and after the game, people will be looking for the biggest and best parties, and all the sex, booze and drugs that come with them. Nightclubs and hotels won’t be the only ones planning to step things up for the big game: HPD will be out in full force, looking to give out easy tickets and score some big arrests. Here are the top crimes they’ll be looking for, and the things you need to know before you start the party.
Football and alcohol just go together. It’s practically science (trust me, I would know). But no matter where you’re from or who wins the game, HPD has never been ones to tolerate public intoxication. While technically a misdemeanor, public intoxication can still secure you a night in the drunk tank. These charges can be fought based on faulty intoxication tests, and on the premise that you were not posing any threat to others at the time of the stop. Even though you can fight and beat a public intoxication charge, it’s still best to just avoid the hassle. Here’s how:
- Stay with a Sober Friend: In the state of Texas, public intoxication is a class C misdemeanor, which means that police have no actual requirement to arrest you. More often than not, officers take people in on PI charges because they believe a person poses a threat to themselves or others. If you get stopped for acting like a jackass on the side of the road, your odds of getting cut loose are much greater if you are currently with someone who can reasonably look after you.
- Have Your Ride Ready before You Leave: One of the best ways to avoid a public intoxication charge is to not be publicly intoxicated. When you and your entire group are trashed at the end of the night, call Uber or a cab – and don’t step outside until it’s there.
- Keep the Drinks Inside: Texas is not New Orleans. When we say we’re an “open carry” state, we’re not referring to beers. Stepping outside with clearly marked booze is just asking for a bored cop to come test you for public intoxication. Finish up your drink, pay your tab, and move on to the next bar. The party will wait for you, we promise.
We’re not here to judge. Of course, you shouldn’t use or drive around with illegal narcotics. Despite being one of America’s largest and most diverse cities, Houston is still in Texas, and our drug policies tend to lean on the conservative side. If you find yourself in a dicey situation involving drugs, here’s what you can do to try and reduce your risk.
- Don’t Destroy the Evidence: Getting hit with a possession charge is bad enough, but when you try to destroy any evidence, you are throwing a potential felony charge into the mix and that will only make things worse. Cops almost always notice it when you try to pull a fast one, so don’t even bother.
- Decline All Searches: If a police officer asks to search your vehicle, you are within your fourth amendment rights to decline. Simply and politely say that you decline their request without a warrant, and hang tight. Sometimes the police will respect your request at face value, sometimes they will call in a drug dog. Either way, stay calm, wait it out, and don’t do anything stupid. If your stop gets dragged out for an unnecessary amount of time without probable cause, any resulting charges may be thrown out in court.
- Don’t Drive with Narcotics: Your best bet is to just not use or have narcotics on you at all. But if that option falls through, the last thing you want to do is drive with them. Leave them at the Airbnb, take an Uber, leave them with a friend – just don’t drive with them. When you’re operating a car, you’re one wrong move away from a suspicious cop who has far more power over you on the road than they might elsewhere.
Look, we’re not here to judge. But in the state of Texas, turning a trick and buying the trick are treated like the same offense. If you and a lady/man of the night find yourself being questioned by the police, you have a few options. We suggest you use them carefully.
- Don’t Admit to Anything: One of the requirements for convicting someone of prostitution is proving that the John knew exactly what they were getting into. No matter what the cop tells you on the side of the road, being honest will absolutely not “make things a whole lot easier.” If you said you were giving her a ride home, stick to it. You might still get arrested, but unless they caught you in the act, a conviction is far less likely.
- Keep Your Mouth Shut: Unless the cop catches you with a well-known prostitute, they might not have much more to work on than their own suspicions. In this situation, your best bet is to say nothing. Anything even resembling an excuse will make it seem like you’re hiding something, and cops will strike hard on any inconsistencies in your story. Keep it simple and stay quiet.
With the party of the decade in town, HPD will be out in full force looking for possible drunk drivers. Their tactics and testing methods may be garbage, but that doesn’t mean they can’t result in a long and costly legal battle if you fail. If you get pulled over and are suspected of DWI, here’s what you need to do:
- Don’t Tell the Officer You’ve Been Drinking: When the officer asks you, “how much have you had to drink tonight?” any answer other than “none” only helps strengthen their case against you.
- Refuse Roadside Tests: Roadside tests are designed for you to fail. Even if you stand on one leg successfully, and say your ABCs backward without a single mistake, the police will keep making you jump through hoops until you give them an excuse to bust out the Breathalyzer.
- Wait Until You Get to the Station: Here’s the bad news: if a cop suspects you of driving drunk and you don’t give them the chance to prove it, they will almost certainly arrest you. Even so, your best bet is to delay testing until you get to the police station. When you do get there, blow don’t bleed. The results of a breath test are much easier to dispute in court.
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When fighting out of state charges, having a lawyer who knows the community is important. Mark Thiessen and the team at Thiessen Law Firm have a strong background in the city of Houston and have successfully tried a wide variety of criminal cases in court. Take a look for yourself, and don’t hesitate to request a free consultation for any charges you may be facing.
Enjoy Houston, and stay safe!