Criminal Defense in Manchester & Murfreesboro
Every June, thousands of individuals from around the country descend upon a farm in Manchester, Tennessee for the famous four-day music and arts festival, Bonnaroo. And every year hundreds of arrests are made in connection to the festival-goers, primarily as a result of vehicle searches on the way into or out of Bonnaroo.
Many of the arrests in connection with Bonnaroo involve out-of-state residents. If you are planning on traveling to Middle Tennessee from out of state you need to understand that when Bonnaroo rolls around, Tennessee law enforcement is extremely strict in enforcing legal infractions (even minor traffic violations) and may even target vehicles driven by Bonnaroo-goers.
Law enforcement is not only strict in Manchester, but also in surrounding counties and communities, such as Rutherford County and the Murfreesboro area. Law enforcement, from state troopers to drug task agents and sheriff's department officers, are well aware of the drug activity that surrounds the Bonnaroo Music and Art Festival and are on high alert before, during, and after the festival.
Drug Laws in Tennessee
Currently, marijuana is still illegal under Tennessee state law. Even if you are traveling from a state that has legalized marijuana, you could still be arrested and charged with drug possession in Tennessee. If you have more than half an ounce of marijuana, under Tennessee law, you could be charged with a felony. In addition, even small amounts of other drugs (for example, mushrooms) are listed as felonies under Tennessee drug laws.
Avoid a Bonnaroo-related Arrest
Due to the fact that Tennessee law enforcement is on high alert for those individuals who may be in possession of drugs, it is important when you travel to Manchester for Bonnaroo that you obey the traffic laws and do not give the police a reason to pull you over.
A few tips for Bonnaroo-goers include:
- Make sure all vehicle equipment is in working order (including head and tail lights, turn signals and lights on your license plate).
- Make sure your license plate is not expired
- Make sure your driver's license, registration, and car insurance are current and in the car
- Do not drink and drive
- Do not let passengers drink alcohol
- Do not smoke marijuana or let your passengers smoke marijuana
- Obey all traffic laws (don't speed, use turn signals, follow at a safe distance and don't litter).
- Wear your seatbelt and make passengers wear their seatbelts
- Keep medicines/prescriptions in the trunk
- Do not carry weapons of any kind
Were You Stopped for a Violation?
If for any reason you are pulled over while en route to Bonnaroo, keep the following in mind:
- Open the window and keep your hands exposed. Do not throw anything out or let your passengers throw anything out.
- Do not say anything. Do not banter with the officers.
- You do not need to consent to a search of your vehicle, yourself, or your stuff. If the law enforcement officer asks, say no.
- Be polite. If you are defensive or rude, the officer may make things more difficult.
- When asked for identification, give it. Do not lie.
- If you are receiving a citation, ask for your ticket and sign the notice to appear for the traffic ticket. The officer cannot hold you indefinitely without reason.
- If the officer seems to be holding you, ask if you are being detained. If you are not, you are free to leave.
- You do not need to answer the officer's questions. If they seem to be questioning you, ask for a lawyer.
- If the officer does question you, stay calm and do not make any sudden movements. Keep your hands out of your pockets.
If you were arrested before, during, or after Bonnaroo, here are a few tips:
- Do not resist or get angry.
- Do not answer any questions, request a criminal attorney.
- Use your phone call. Remember calls are recorded, so do not discuss the arrest on the phone.
- Stay calm.
- Do not talk to other inmates regarding your arrest or case.
How Our Murfrseesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
If you receive a ticket or get arrested during the Bonnaroo season, do not ignore it or it can turn into a big problem. Do not let your Bonnaroo trip become a nightmare that can negatively affect your future. If you are facing criminal charges relating to drug possession, reckless driving, DUI/DWI or other criminal charges from Bonnaroo, it is important to consult with a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer who knows the local courts.
It may seem easier to just plead guilty or give up; however, Attorney David Clarke is a skilled criminal defense attorney who can help you navigate your Bonnaroo mishap and who will fight for the best possible outcome in your situation.
For a free consultation, call our office at (615) 645-1501 today!