Summer Camp is a fun music festival, and everyone in attendance just wants to have a good time. That is, except for the police, who are looking to boost arrest numbers, and get the most people in trouble that they can. This article will help explain what to expect at the festival, dangers a person could face, and how we can help.
What can you expect if you plan to go to Summer Camp?
The short answer is a strong police presence: both the one you see and the one you don't. You'll see officers from Chillicothe, Peoria County Sheriff's Department, the Illinois State Police troopers, and ones from other counties specifically assigned to work the Multi-County Narcotics Enforcement Group.[i] Then there are all the officers you don't see. As defense attorneys, we rarely see undercover police like you see on television or in movies. Then Summer Camp rolls around, and undercover police are everywhere. Undercover police alone arrested lots of people every day for possession of drugs to distribution of drugs, and offenses in between.[ii] Arrests and the money they generate from mandatory fines, fees, assessments, and court costs, helps, in turn, fund police enforcement effort, and there is no shortage of police departments wanting more funding.
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What can you expect on your way to or coming back from Summer Camp?
The biggest threat of arrest lies not with undercover police, but with the police you do not see until it is too late. These are the ones whose lights shine in your rearview mirror. Generally, arrests of people going to or coming from Summer Camp occurred primarily in Peoria, Tazewell, Fulton, Woodford, Marshall, Stark, and Knox counties, but also included counties as far away as Bureau, Putnam, and LaSalle.[iii] These arrests range from everything from Driving while Under the Influence (or DUI) to Unlawful Possession of Cannabis and/or a Controlled Substance. Last year alone, more than 1,000 hits of LSD were seized by police at Summer Camp.
What are the consequences of an arrest?
The immediate consequence of an arrest for most offenses usually means sitting in a jail cell the rest of the weekend instead of enjoying the music festival, then having to post what many believe to be an excessive bond in order to just get out of jail. After that, a person finds himself or herself charged with a serious offense, and usually prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, often beginning with the State wanting nothing less than jail or prison.
Going to jail or prison is bad enough, but, for many, the consequences of their arrests go beyond that. For example, anyone can be prosecuted for a DUI when they have a controlled substance in their system or a certain amount of alcohol or cannabis (or THC). When anyone is convicted of a DUI offense, that person's driver's license will be revoked, and frequently people will have to wait months - if not years - before even being eligible to get a driving permit. Besides consequences like this one, there is the very real chance of winding up with a drug conviction permanently on a person's criminal history, which can affect a person's being unable to obtain, among other things, loans, including student loans, housing, or even employment.
What can Johnson Law Group do for me?
Only Johnson Law Group has the expertise and experience to help. We have a track record of success when representing people in the criminal courts. Because of the way that we work and are structured, we form strategies that can oftentimes get us results few are able to brag about. Case in point: a Summer Camp arrest from 2016.
We had a client who was in a fight while at Summer Camp, and, by fight, we mean literally grabbing then hitting a festival employee while at Summer Camp. Obviously, police immediately tackled him, and went to arrest him, after which they found ecstasy, or MDMA, on his person. Given the circumstances of his arrest, he faced some really serious offenses that could have ruined his life forever, but he came to us. We succeeded in avoiding a felony battery offense altogether, and even succeeded in getting him a specialized probation, so that he was never convicted of anything. And we did all of this without him ever having to serve a day in jail. We work as hard on all of our cases stemming from an arrest related to Summer Camp, and we stand ready to help anyone who is in trouble.