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Day at the Beach? Don't Get Arrested

By Betty Wang, JD | Last updated on

Getting arrested at the beach? It's true -- your day of sun and fun could end up with you in just your swimmies and handcuffs.

With summer in full swing, it may be time for you and your beloved fellow beach bums to hit the waves, or just crash on the sand for a day of relaxing. With that said, it might be easy to forget that despite how chill everything may appear, the beach is still not a lawless land.

What should you watch out for, then? Here are a number of ways that you could still get arrested, even at the beach:

  • Public intoxication. Coming from a backyard BBQ where you've had one too many? Public intoxication, otherwise known as being drunk and disorderly, is illegal in most states, and depending on the circumstances, can be considered a misdemeanor or even a felony. So before you knock back that sixth, or seventh, cold one, remember that there may be legal consequences for being drunk at the beach, even if you have a designated driver.
  • Public nudity. Yes, many beach folk are wearing practically nothing, but there is a fine line between a skimpy bikini and, well, being fully clad in one's birthday suit. Sunbathing in the buff at the beach you're headed to is likely prohibited -- though there are a few exceptions. This means that if you're a little too free out there, and especially if kids are around, you could get in trouble for it.
  • Open container laws. Remember that open container laws vary by state, so it's crucial that you know what the rule is in yours. Chances are, open containers are not allowed at your local public beach, as only seven states do not have any specific laws addressing alcohol in public. So make sure you confirm anything before you pack up that cooler with your favorite libations.
  • Public urination. This one should be obvious, one would hope. As most everyone knows, public urination is illegal. But as many may be surprised to find out, if public urination occurs with children in the periphery, then the "relieved" party could potentially be charged with a sex offense in some jurisdictions.
  • DUI in parked car. Some states allow an intoxicated person to be arrested for a DUI offense, even in a parked car with the ignition turned off. That's because under some laws, "driving" can also be read to include having physical control of a vehicle. Which means that, yes, sitting in a parked car while inebriated can be a bad move. Bottom line? You probably should avoid bringing your car, period, if you plan to drink.

Here's hoping your day at the beach doesn't end with you getting busted by the cops. But if it does, don't forget that our online directory can help you find an experienced criminal defense lawyer near you. So be smart, stay safe, and enjoy yourself out there.

Oh and one last thing: Don't forget your sunscreen!

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