Kenny Chesney is coming to town again, to Heinz Field, and Pittsburgh City Police are letting it be known that they will not tolerate shenanigans during the concert.
Chesney’s concerts are noted for having incredibly rowdy attendees. Two years ago, seven people were arrested and 37 taken to hospitals. That year, 48 tons of garbage was cleaned up by Pittsburgh city crews. It took until sunrise Sunday that year to clean the mess up.
When the singer visited in 2013, 70 people were arrested, 150 were treated by paramedics, and 30 tons of trash was cleaned up.
City police this year intend to crack down on underage drinking, public drunkenness, and violence. Officers in uniform, as well as those in plain clothes, will patrol the parking lots in the North Shore and the area surrounding the stadium. Anyone misbehaving, or drunk, especially if they are underage, will be cited and/or arrested. Period.
In addition to the above-mentioned officers, there will be Allegheny County police on patrol, and mounted units from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. The U.S. Coast Guard will patrol the rivers, looking for loiterers, and enforcing laws against anchoring, drifting, and stopping. River rescue will patrol the rivers, as well, enforcing boating and drinking laws.
The most common citations in past years have been for petty crimes. Public intoxication and Driving Under the Influence are two of the most common. DUI is, of course, the one that comes with the harshest penalties of those two. At the least, a DUI leaves a person with a suspended license for up to a year. Makes me scratch my head in wonder at anyone risking it.
Along with drinking often comes fighting, and there have been many arrests for both disorderly conduct and simple assault. In a 2012 news report, a man told a reporter that he saw a big fight of 20 people. You may think that’s too large a crowd for the cops to break up, but trust me, there will be enough of them out there to get the job done. Simple assault is the charge that, of these two, comes with the worst penalties, because it is a crime against a person. It is a second-degree misdemeanor and comes with fines of up to $5,000 and two years in prison.
Disorderly conduct generally involves things like peeing in public (guys, use the Porta-Potties). It’s a bit of a catch-all charge, and in addition to public urination, can include making unreasonable noise (screaming while you are being arrested, for instance,) using obscene gestures (don’t go flipping people off) and language, as well as fighting. Disorderly conduct is a summary offense, which is where it differs from simple assault. It comes with a fine of up to $1,500 and up to 90 days in jail.
As I suspect you expect of me, I’ll say that with a good Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, it’s possible that your arrest will only dim your good time, not snuff it out completely.
Defenses are available for every case. Perhaps you were fighting in self-defense. Maybe the line to the bathroom was one hundred people deep and you have a medical condition, and couldn’t wait any longer. It’s possible that you were so drunk you didn’t realize it was cops you were screaming at.
Obviously, not every case is going to go well for the defendant, but if you hire an experienced attorney and then tell him everything, no matter how embarrassing, he can usually find a way to at least get the charges reduced.
No one wants you to not have fun. Go to the concert. Party hearty. Just do it sensibly. Don’t drink too much, and if you drink at all, don’t drive. Don’t pee beside the car or dumpster. And, don’t duke it out with the guy who spills his beer on your girlfriend.