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Defending Against Charges of Drug Possession at the Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival

Okeechobee Music Festival arrest

OKEECHOBEE MUSIC FESTIVAL
IT’S ALSO A FESTIVAL OF ARRESTS!!!!!!!

Last year, the Okeechobee Music and Arts Fest was a spectacular success. Not just for music lovers, but for local law enforcement as well. 99 citizens were arrested last year during the four (4) day festival.

Almost ALL of the arrests occurred on the way TO the venue, as opposed to actually at the festival site itself).

Generally, there are only to (2) ways to get to the festival by car/van/rv: Florida’s Turnpike, Fort Pierce exit; and I-95, on two (2) Fort Pierce exits, route 70 and route 68.

Local police targeted all three exits, and then, with the help of dozens of police cars, in both marked and unmarked cars stopped hundreds of vehicles in order to search for small, personal use amounts of controlled substances, e.g., cannabis, mushrooms, ecstasy, ‘zanny bars’, cocaine, etc.

These “operations” have been utilized by local law enforcement for the last several years, and rumor has it the plans for this year’s festival are ‘bigger and better’ than ever.

Although the cops are not legally permitted to stop every car that exits the expressways, they are allowed legally to stop any car for moving traffic violations (speeding, failure to maintain a single lane; full-and-compete stop, etc.), as well as ‘faulty’ equipment (tint too dark; failure to wear a seat belt; any non working light—turn indicators, headlights, even license tag lights.

And there are some cops who use “profiling” to target vehicles for searches—–occupants who, in their view, are too young, or too old, or too dark, or who’s hair is the ‘wrong’ style——you get the idea.

MANY CITIZENS BELIEVE THE COPS ARE JUST LOOKING FOR “TRAFFICKING” AMOUNTS OF NARCOTICS…..THE FACTS SHOW DIFFERENTLY WHEN IT COMES TO THE OKEECHOBEE MUSIC FEST: MOST ARRESTS ARE MADE FOR TRIVIAL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA—-AS LITTLE AS ½ GRAM; AND HALLUCINOGENS; ECSTASY AND SMALL AMOUNTS OF COCAINE, FOR SOLELY PERSONAL USE.

So if you’re going to the Okeechobee Music Festival this year, here are some tips to avoid being stopped, detained, handcuffed and arrested:

IF YOU’RE ‘CARRYING, BE SMART !!!!! : Take some time out now, and visit NeverGetBusted.com, a website run by a former Texas K9 and Narcotics interdiction cop, Barry Cooper, who transitioned from the cops—– to the “forces of good”. He can tell you, from an experienced cop’s perspective, how to avoid getting arrested for illegal possession of narcotics:

In general, don’t make ‘simple’ mistakes:

  1.  Obey, to the letter, all traffic laws. This means if the speed limit is 45- mph–do NOT go 46.
  2. NO “CALIFORNIA STOPS”. Florida requires drivers to come to a “full and complete” stop at every traffic control device. Exaggerate it. Count to 3 while fully stopped, before continuing your journey.

If you do get busted, after you have bonded out of jail, (or after you have been given a “Notice to Appear”), immediately contact and retain competent legal counsel. Without delay. The earlier you retain competent counsel, the greater your chances of winning your case, or at a minimum, getting better results than those who delay before getting counsel on-board.

Jonathan Jay Kirschner, Esq., & Associates, LLC has over 20 years experience in defending criminal arrests specifically at music festivals. He is a Martindale Hubbell AV Preemient Rated Attorney and is a Florida Supreme Court Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer since 1994.