Summer is here, and so is music festival season. What can beat listening to your favourite bands in fantastic outdoor venues across Australia?
Aside from the masses of young people, festivals also bring about bad behaviour and sometimes illegal substances, so it's important to act responsibly and safely to avoid ending up in the back of a police car.
There are five easy ways to avoid trouble at music festivals.
- avoid illicit substances
- drink in moderation & have plenty of water
- pre-plan your transport home
- keep away from aggressive people; and
- look after your mates
The message is simple really, act responsibly and within the boundaries of the law, and you'll have a great time.
Earlier this month I attended a courtroom where a number of people received hefty fines and criminal convictions for drug-related offences from a recent music festival in Sydney – I know they were all wishing they hadn’t acted so foolishly.
These events are heavily policed, both inside and outside the venue, so if you're caught with an illicit substance you can expect to be charged with serious criminal offences. If you're in possession of drugs there is a very good change you will be caught and charged.
What's worse, illicit drug taking can even see you end up in hospital.
Across Australia, a person can be charged with possession and/or supply of illicit drugs under relevant state laws.
In NSW for instance, possession of illicit substances carries a sentence of up to 2 years in jail or a fine of $2,200 or both, while a small quantity supply charge carries a sentence of up to 2 years in jail or a fine of $5,500, or both.
People may also not realise that drug offences remain on one’s criminal record for a very long time and can hinder career prospects, particularly in industries such as law enforcement, defence and government.
More broadly, employers are becoming much more rigorous with recruitment, and are requiring potential employees to submit to a National Police Check – a drug conviction could mean the difference between getting the job or not.
A drug conviction could also hinder opportunities to travel and obtain travel visas.
Countries like the USA, Canada and some Western European countries are scrutinising visa applications closer than ever and a drug conviction may adversely impact on that application.
Be safe and have a good time with your mates.