Halloween in Columbus, Ohio, is not just about candy, costumes, and haunted houses. The night becomes a cauldron of festivities with events like HighBall, ghost-themed bar crawls, and notorious parties around OSU. However, as spirits heighten, so does the potential for legal problems.
While Halloween in Columbus can be thrilling and harmless fun, it’s best to be aware of the common arrests during the holiday and their ghoulish implications.
Columbus, Ohio Halloween Arrests
Many people safely indulge on Halloween, but some situations cross the line, leading to legal consequences. Here, we’ll unmask the most seen Halloween arrests around Columbus and their possible consequences.
This list is by no means exhaustive. As with any legal matter, specifics will vary based on the circumstances. If you’re in legal trouble, contact a local attorney immediately.
Whether it’s a prank gone wrong or an intentional act, criminal mischief behaviors that harm another person’s property. From the harmless-looking act of throwing toilet paper on trees to spraying graffiti, these actions can lead to arrests. Convictions can result in fines up to $150 and potential jail time, depending on the damage.
Large Halloween gatherings can sometimes lead to heated situations. Engaging in aggressive behavior, causing excessive noise, or disturbing the peace—especially when intoxicated—can result in a disorderly conduct charge. Penalties generally include fines but can escalate to jail.
Underage Alcohol Consumption
With so many parties, it’s not uncommon for individuals under 21 to drink on Halloween. Consuming, possessing, or purchasing alcohol underage can lead to a first-degree misdemeanor, risking up to 6 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. If this is a first offense, a judge may sentence you to probation, which can still be an unfortunate mark on your record.
OVI (Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence)
Halloween night sees a surge in DUI checkpoints, especially around busy areas. Being arrested for an OVI can result in penalties that range from three days to six months in jail for a first offense, along with fines and license suspensions. The presence of events and parties increases the vigilance of law enforcement during Halloween, making it crucial not to drink and drive.
Open Container Violation
As you bounce from house party to house party along High Street, remember that carrying an open container of alcohol in a public space is illegal. If caught, you’re looking at a minor misdemeanor with a fine. It’s always best to keep the lid on your spirits until you’re in a permitted area.
The excitement of Halloween sometimes incites more trick than treat. Vandalism, like smashing pumpkins or defacing properties, can result in charges. Depending on the severity and value involved, vandalism charges might range from misdemeanors to felonies, carrying potential jail time and varying fines.
Haunted houses are a Halloween staple. But wandering onto genuine private properties uninvited, not so much. In Ohio, trespassing is a fourth-degree misdemeanor. This means up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Unfortunately, physical altercations happen in crowded bars and Halloween parties. And assault charges are scary. A first-degree misdemeanor conviction can mean up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Halloween is all about fun. However, taking someone’s property is where the line is drawn. Theft, whether swiping decorations or more significant items, can have grave ramifications. Depending on the value, one can face charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies.
What if You’re Arrested During Halloween?
It can be particularly scary if you or someone you know gets arrested in Columbus during Halloween. Here’s what to expect and things to remember:
- Increased Police Presence: Halloween involves more parties, pedestrians, and children on the streets. Consequently, law enforcement will have more patrols out, especially in areas known for Halloween celebrations. This increased presence means a higher chance of encountering police.
- Overcrowded Jails & Processing Delays: Halloween results in more arrests than usual. Therefore, processing through the local jail could take longer. This means longer wait times before being released or before they see a judge.
- Higher Scrutiny: Due to the nature of Halloween, some offenses might be taken more seriously. For instance, if someone is caught with a weapon, even a prop, it could cause concern. Similarly, vandalism might be more prevalent and, as such, more stringently pursued.
- Potential for Mistaken Identity: Given that many people wear costumes on Halloween, there’s a potential for mistaken identity. If someone is arrested based on a description that matches their outfit, they should convey this to their attorney.
Stay Informed & Celebrate Responsibly
Halloween in Columbus offers a unique blend of tradition and local flair, but staying informed and vigilant for potential legal trouble is important.
But if you or a loved one are arrested in Columbus this Halloween, speak with an experienced local defense attorney immediately. A skilled lawyer helps you navigate the area’s legal system, protects your rights, and offers the best defense strategies tailored to your situation.
Call Luftman, Heck & Associates
Our Columbus defense lawyers are passionate about letting you tell your side of the story and believe you should not be burdened with a criminal conviction for a mistake or misunderstanding on Halloween. Let LHA explain your legal options and fight to protect you.