It’s that time of year again, when 85,000+ music lovers flock to the farmlands of Manchester, Tennessee for four days of great vibes, great tunes, and lots of high fives. It’s an event that people plan for all year, including local authorities. With all eyes on them this weekend, Tennessee authorities will be out in force ensuring everyone gets in and out of town safely.
I’ve been part of the Bonnaroo experience several times and know firsthand what an incredible experience it can be. As a criminal defense attorney in Tennessee that specializes in representing people with DUI, marijuana and other drug possession charges, I’ve also seen many careless festival goers’ weekends ruined before they even start.
With a little planning ahead and some common decency, this weekend can and should be one of the highlights of your summer.
To make sure you find your way into your campsite, I’ve compiled a quick list to help keep the good times rolling.
Ten things you should know if you get pulled over on your way to Bonnaroo
- Keep your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration easily accessible to avoid any unnecessary fumbling or delay if you are stopped.
- Keep your hands on the wheel until the officer approaches. This is a safety measure that officers appreciate!
- Only answer questions related to the traffic stop. If asked where you are going, politely advise the officer you would prefer to remain silent and not answer any unnecessary questions. Be polite and respectful at all times.
- Oftentimes officers will ask you to step outside the vehicle. In Tennessee this is allowed so I would recommend cooperating.
- If an officer begins small talking, politely ask if you are being detained or if you are allowed to leave. If the officer says he is going to issue a citation, ask them to do so and allow you to go on your way.
- If an officer asks whether you have any drugs in the vehicle, remain silent and remind them of your previous invoking of your rights.
- If officers ask if they can “take a look around” advise them that you will not consent to a search of your vehicle under any circumstances.
- If the officers go forward and search vehicle despite your refusal (either with K-9 or manually), cooperate and don’t make any statements during this process.
- If something illegal is found in your vehicle, do not make any statements about ownership or whether you knew or didn’t know the illegal item was in your vehicle.
- If arrested, refuse to make any statements and request the assistance of a lawyer.
It should go without saying that I am in no way condoning the use or transport of any illegal substances. If it is illegal outside of the festival it is illegal inside the festival. Be smart, stay safe. Look out for one another and by all means, have an amazing weekend!
Joseph Fuson is a Criminal Defense Attorney and Partner at Freeman & Fuson Law in Nashville, Tennessee where he specializes in DUI, marijuana offenses, and drug charges. If you are in need of legal counsel, call Joseph at (615) 298-7272 for a consultation.