I was very surprised to discover that students at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) have tried to start their own student sponsored all-day drinking event call IUPatty's Day, most likely modeled after the infamous, and much hated, State Patty's Day at Penn State. While IUPatty's Day had an event page on Facebook with approximately 1,000 people confirming that they would be attending, I could not find any other reference to the drinking holiday on the internet, including the local newspaper. According to the Facebook page, IUPatty's Day took place this past weekend, from March 8th until March 10th.
I am sure that the IUP event was filled with criminal activity, ranging in severity from relatively minor summary offenses like Underage Drinking and Public Drunkenness, to misdemeanor offenses like DUI and Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, to felony charges of Criminal Trespass and Burglary as drunk people went into the wrong houses and apartments. However, either the event does not result in nearly as many arrests, or the local media does a very good job of intentionally not publicizing the event to hopefully not feed to its popularity. The local newspaper in Indiana, the Indiana Gazette, has a "Police Log" page that appears to list people that were arrested for criminal offenses. It lists one person being arrested at 7:18 a.m. for being drunk at a Sheetz station. I am sure that other people were arrested for misdemeanor and felony offenses or cited for summary violations on IUPatty's Day, but, had the event been anywhere close to the drunken mess that is State Patty's Day, I am sure that it would be noted more prominently in the local newspaper.
Decline and Hopeful Demise of Penn State's State Patty's Day
According to the early statistics being reported, the number of police incidents and citations issued was substantially lower this year in comparison to prior years. I have also spoken with numerous State College and Penn State police officers that were on the streets, and they all stated that this year's event was much calmer than in years past. While the number of citations and criminal incidents may have decreased, I still received a high volume of calls from prospective clients that had been charged with Underage Drinking, Public Drunkenness, and Furnishing Alcohol to Minors. The police have publicly stated that they would oppose all pre-adjudicative or first-time offender programs, but it isn't clear whether they only oppose those dispositions on summary cases or misdemeanor charges as well. Normally, first-time Underage Drinking offenders are eligible to participate in the State College Youthful Offenders Program (YOP). Many first-time offenders of misdemeanor charges, such as Furnishing Alcohol to Minors, Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Driving Under the Influence (DUI), are eligible to participate in the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. The basic tenant of these diversionary programs is that completion of the program allows for the dismissal of the charges, and a person can seek expungement of the dismissed charges.
If you or a loved one is charged with a criminal offense, it is important to discuss the matter with a criminal defense lawyer that has experience in handling cases in that area. While the laws in Pennsylvania are the same, the judges, prosecutors, and police applying those laws apply those laws differently. Some officers and police departments are more lenient than others. Some judges have first-time offender programs, while others do not. A Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer may be able to explain the law in Pennsylvania and discuss a State College criminal case generally, but that lawyer will not know the tendencies of the police and judges in this area. It is important that you discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney with experience in the particular area where charges are filed.