'I'm not as think as you drunk I am'

    Almost as inevitable as the booths, bounce houses and bands at UCSD’s annual Sun God festival is the booze. Year after year, the day-long event manages to bring out the inner college student in all of us — the one that is otherwise repressed by organic chemistry, shut-in roommates and La Jolla’s disdain for student housing (who really wants a college town, anyway?).

    The debauchery that accompanies Sun God is no secret – with surefire student intoxication comes an inevitable police presence throughout the day. By knowing your rights and recognizing (if not adhering to) the law, however, even the most incapacitated freshman can minimize the probability of an unwanted encounter with the fuzz.

    “”[Intoxication is] typically what we run into a lot,”” said UCSD Police Officer John Smart. “”People enjoy the day with some adult beverages, and then come out of their apartments or dorms.””

    Drunk in public and minor in possession violations are two of the most common Sun God infractions. According to California penal code, drunk in public violations are reserved for those found to be “”in such a condition that he or she is unable to exercise care for his or her own safety or the safety of others,”” while MIPs go to those under 21 who are found possessing alcohol.

    Those detained for a drunk in public violation may be taken to detox, regardless of their age. The perpetrator is charged for the officer’s time, and, if he or she is a student, a report of the incident is sent to a residential or academic dean. MIPs typically result in a $250 fine or 24 hours of community service and, potentially, a year-long revoke of the minor’s license.

    Most police action is the result of a disturbance, either witnessed by an officer or reported to the police and not solicited by officers, according to UCSD Police Sergeant Dave Rose.

    “”Contrary to popular belief, we’re not out to bust people,”” Rose said. “”If we could go through the entire event without making one arrest, we’d be overjoyed.””

    Yet a good number of violations are sure to be spotted when so sizable a portion of the populace is under the influence. So, students should know their rights for dealing with officers in such cases.

    Students are not required to answer an officer’s questions or confess, nor are officers allowed to enter a student’s on-campus dorm or apartment room unless the officer believes there to be an emergency, according to Commissioner of Student Advocacy Brie Finegold. However, it is not advisable to simply hide or ignore an officer, said Finegold. Instead, students have the option of closing their door and talking with the officer outside their room.

    Furthermore, an officer must have “”reasonable suspicion”” to detain an individual for questioning or citation. Officers look for such objective drunk in public symptoms as slurred speech, a staggering gait or passing out in determining suspicion.

    Ten officers, three sergeants, a contingent of city officers and a college alcohol task force will be out in full force for the Sun God concert, according to Rose. In addition, an increased number of UCSD police officers will be making the rounds during the day and Residential Security Officers will be on patrol early for the event.

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