What to Do If You're Arrested at SMF16

It’s festival season and this Memorial Day Weekend presents the annual Sunset Music Festival in Tampa, a chance for a fun and exciting holiday weekend getaway with friends. Any festival brings risk of trouble, as local law enforcement will be on high alert for alcohol or drugs. The Tampa criminal defense attorneys at Thomas & Paulk wants to remind #SMF16 goers to stay safe this weekend, but we also want you to be prepared for the worst.

Should you be arrested for any reason, here are seven tips for best handling the situation:

1. Memorize One Phone Number

Before you leave for SMF, make absolutely sure you know at least one phone number of someone you trust. Not only will this come in handy should you be arrested, but it is also a useful and unfortunately outdated practice that can help in any situation that lands you without your cell phone and the contacts within it. Should you be arrested, your personal items, including your cell phone, will be confiscated during processing.

2. Cooperate

This is the most important thing to remember throughout the entire process, from being approached by a police officer at SMF, all the way through anything else that may follow. Cooperation will prevent minor issues from escalating and will work in your favor later on. Don’t fight them, don’t touch them, don’t resist them, and don’t run.

3. Don’t Consent to Searches

While you should cooperate, you also have the right to due process, which means that an officer cannot search you or your property without probable cause. Unless and until you are arrested, you have the right to deny consent to searches. Be polite and respectful when asserting your rights.

4. Don’t Talk to Cops

Cooperation also doesn’t have to mean talking to any police officer or interrogator. If they ask you any questions, remind them of your right to an attorney and tell them that you won’t talk to them without one. Law enforcement will try to deceive you and coerce a confession. Even if they sound like they’re trying to help you, it is always in your best interest to remain silent.

5. Remain Calm

Getting arrested in the middle of Sunset Music Festival can be pretty intimidating, frustrating, and disheartening, but it is important not to lose your cool. You will likely only be held for a few hours and allowed to be released on bail.

6. Don’t Talk to Friends

While it might make for an exciting story to Tweet about, keep it to yourself until everything has been resolved. If you have been arrested with your fellow #SMF16 friends, don’t talk with them about what happened – your conversation may be recorded. After your release, don’t post anything to social media. Everything you say and publish online can be used against you.

7. Get an Attorney

You should immediately contact a Tampa criminal defense attorney who can help you document, investigate, and build your case. The sooner you gain qualified and experienced counsel, the better your chances at a favorable outcome.

Call Thomas & Paulk at (813) 321-7323 Immediately

We lied when we told you to memorize one number; memorize (813) 321-7323 as well and call our Tampa law firm if you get arrested at any time during Sunset Music Festival, or any other festival this summer. We are available to take your call 24/7, so call us immediately following an arrest and we will get started on your defense.

Be safe, smart, and prepared at Sunset Music Festival!