Spring in Durham and the Overwhelming Police Presence!
The University of New Hampshire has their own police force of about 30 patrol officers. The town of Durham has over 20 officers plus additional parking enforcement and administrative staff. At any given time, especially weekend evenings, there are also NH State Police Troopers and Liquor Law Enforcement Officers on patrol in the town of Durham as well. Busy weekends, like Homecoming or Cinco, will see additional officers brought in from other towns.
These officers are all on the look-out for college students who they think are drinking underage. Even though it is only a violation level offense, this is the focus of enforcement in this community. In the process of catching young people with an open container of alcohol or a back backpack full of beers, they often also find things like fake ID’s or drugs or worse, they end up chasing panicking students who run away and then end up with the more serious charge of Resisting Arrest.
If you are a UNH student be especially aware the UNH Police Department patrols in the dorms. They listen at bathrooms and dormitory doors for students throwing up, clinking beer cans, or making comments about drinking.
So, how in the world can you avoid being arrested?
Well, the easy answer is don’t drink alcohol. But, for those that do the answer is be more careful. Seriously, be careful: don’t walk outside the party with a beer in your; don’t urinate in public with a backpack full of beer and your fake ID, don’t play loud music in your dorm room while doing shots of vodka with four friends from home at 3 a.m. And, don't get so intoxicated that you appear to need medical attention-you will definitely get arrested and more importantly you put your health at serious risk. It is easy in a college town to get caught up in the atmosphere where it seems like everyone is partying and it is all okay. However, the police know all the hot spots and they know what to look for.
I often joke around and say the best way not to get arrested is to only violate one law at a time. If you are drinking underage, don’t also go out in public with an open container. If you are driving with drugs in your car, don’t speed. If you urinate in public, don’t do it while wearing a backpack full of beer. If you concentrate on only violating one law at a time, what you are really doing is giving yourself a funny way to remember to be more careful. To think about how much risk you are taking and try to avoid taking too much. I am not actually suggesting you violate any laws. However, most young people who get arrested in Durham are not bad people, they were just being careless. So, a little caution, a little risk aversion can go a long way.
So, remember, the police are around every corner and they are watching. Be careful.
And, if you get caught, text or call me for the best legal representation in town: 603-312-2465.
Joanne M. Stella, Esq.
9 Madbury Road, Suite 101
Durham NH 03824