For about three weeks every year in Houston, there’s one place where investment bankers, doctors, and lawyers join roughnecks, blue-collar workers, and everyone in between to embrace their inner cowboy. That’s right folks, it’s almost time for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and you better believe that just about everyone and their mama has at least one show they have to see this year. There’s just one problem: The sheriff and his posse will be in the building and on the highways just waiting to nab some outlaws.

So, before you dust off those cowboy boots and fill up your flask, check out this handy guide to making it through rodeo season without taking a trip in the paddy wagon.

How to Avoid Public Intoxication

Just because it’s rodeo season, doesn’t mean that the Houston Police Department will start tolerating being drunk in public. Although it is a misdemeanor, public intoxication can still land you an expensive night in jail if you don’t play your cards right. Enjoy yourself and make it home in one piece by taking these essential steps:

  1. Have a (mostly) Sober Friend with You: In the state of Texas, public intoxication is a Class C misdemeanor, which means that police have no actual requirement to arrest you. Typically, the only reason they take PI suspects to jail is because they could be a danger to themselves or others. If you are with a friend who can reasonably take care of you, it’s far less likely the police will take you in simply for being drunk in public.
  1. Keep the Drinks in Designated Areas: It may be rodeo season, but that doesn’t make NRG stadium the Wild West. If you must finish your beer, do so inside or in the designated areas. Stumbling around with an open container is practically inviting the nearest cop to come test you for public intoxication.
  1. Keep it to Yourself: We get it, it’s tough, but sometimes you just have to fight the urge to hoot, holler, and make an ass of yourself. It attracts cops and it can lead to an even worse situation.

Assault and Battery

Maybe someone scuffed up your brand new boots or stared at your date for just a little too long. No matter what happened, the second you hit somebody else without provocation, you’re getting slapped with an assault charge. Stay safe and take the high road by following these steps.

  1. Keep Your Cool: Whether you see something you don’t like, or someone does something that offends you, chances are it’s not worth jail time or a $4,000 fine. Before you wind up in a bad situation, just keep moving. You’ll be back to your good time before you know it, and whatever was bothering you will be a distant memory/
  1. Don’t Escalate: Sometimes, it’s really not your fault. Maybe some drunk idiot thought you were looking at him funny and now he’s in your face trying to cause a problem. Don’t give one to him. No matter what that guy says to you, the second you throw the first punch, you’re getting charged with assault.
  1. Walk Away: Even if you wait for them to throw the first punch, you could still get arrested and possibly even convicted of disorderly conduct, public intoxication or even assault depending on the exact circumstances of the brawl. Your best bet is to just walk away. After all, it’s even harder to protect your pride when you’re working community service and paying fines for the next several months over some stupid fight.

Steer Clear of DWI

To highway patrol, rodeo season and hunting season are one in the same. Except the cops aren’t after deer or quail, they’re looking for all the drunk drivers exiting NRG stadium. If you get pulled over on your way home, here’s what you need to do.

  1. Don’t Admit that You’ve Been Drinking: If a cop asks you “have you been drinking tonight,” saying yes will instantly strengthen their case of a Houston DWI against you.
  1. Refuse the Field Sobriety Tests: Field sobriety tests are designed to be failed. Even if you pass the first test, the cops will keep putting you through the ringer until you give them probable cause to whip out the Breathalyzer.
  1. Wait Until You Get to the Station: Here’s the cold hard truth – unless you know you’ve had nothing to drink, the first step to avoiding a DWI conviction might mean taking a trip to jail first. It’s in your best interest to wait until you get to the station to undergo DWI testing, and once you get there, blow don’t bleed. The results of a breath test are much easier to dispute in court.

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Fighting criminal charges takes expertise, experience, and battle-ready strategies. Mark Thiessen and the team at Thiessen Law firm have the skills required to fight your charges in court and win!

If your night at the rodeo goes south in all the wrong ways, don’t wait to seek help. Call Thiessen Law Firm or request a free consultation and take the first step towards getting your life back on the right track.

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Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.