The Iowa State Fair has started, and will run through August 20. While fairgoers can look forward to Grandstand entertainment, rides, fair food and the Butter Cow, others could find themselves with a wristband they didn't ask for: handcuffs.
A Fortified Force
Last year the Iowa State Patrol made 217 arrests at the fair, an increase of seven percent from the year before, as reported by the Des Moines Register. Most of those arrests were alcohol-related: either public intoxication or minor-in-possession of alcohol. With the State Fair adding its own police force this year, that number could increase. The Fair's new police force will be able to make arrests, unlike the security force it has deployed in the past. The new police force adds to the existing presence of the Iowa State Patrol, the Des Moines Police and the Polk County Sheriff's department, according to KCCI Des Moines.
Hiding In Plain Sight
If you go to the fair, you can expect to have a good time. But you can also expect that there will be a good number of undercover police officers on the lookout for public intoxication or underage drinkers. It's not unheard of for undercover officers to stake out parking zones to catch people drinking and driving. If you get arrested for anything at the fair: public intoxication, getting in a fight, or something else - police can then use the opportunity to tack on additional charges; for example, by searching your car.
What Should You Know?
If you get arrested at the fair, it's important to realize that you have rights. Here are two of the most important ones:
Stay silent. You do not have to incriminate yourself. If you have been arrested, you have the right to remain silent, and ask for a lawyer. If a police officer asks you questions but you are not under arrest, you do not have to answer these questions, either.
Do not consent to a search. Just because a police officer asks to inspect your car or your backpack does not mean you have to allow it - especially if you are not under arrest. If you do allow it, anything found in that search could be used against you. That's why it's important not to allow the search in the first place.
Don't make things worse for yourself. If you do find yourself arrested at the fair, stay silent, do not allow a search, and make sure to contact an experienced law firm that can protect your rights and make sure you reach the best possible conclusion for your case.