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auburn rodeo 2019

Auburn Rodeo 2019 Edition

By | Alcohol Offenses, Auburn Local, University Discipline | No Comments

It’s almost time for the 2019 Auburn Rodeo, taking place on April 6 at Sistrunk Farms in Opelika, AL. If your plan is to have a good time and enjoy yourself while you’re at Auburn Rodeo 2019 Edition, listen up.

For the last 18 years, I have represented students that were arrested at the Auburn Rodeo or on their way home from it. In 2016 alone, 47 people were arrested at the rodeo site; however, this number is misleading because it does not reflect the arrests for DUI’s, Public Intoxication or Public Lewdness in Auburn as part of the Rodeo aftermath. Because the Auburn Rodeo is no longer held within Auburn City limits, jurisdiction for any criminal charges is now the District Court of Lee County, Alabama. Luckily, Lee County has started a pre-trial diversion program similar to Auburn’s; however, this program does not preclude you from being arrested, detained and from having a criminal record.

Here are the top 8 things that will get you arrested at Rodeo:

1. Driving Under the Influence

Just because you are at the rodeo and not on a public highway does not mean a police officer cannot arrest you for DUI. Whether it’s on a public highway or in a grassy field, if you are in physical control of the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you can be arrested for DUI. In fact, you can be asleep behind the wheel of a parked car and still be arrested for DUI. Although the event is not in Auburn, I am positive the Sheriff will be patrolling the roads back to Auburn. In addition, the Opelika and Auburn Police Departments will most likely have a new set up to catch intoxicated drivers entering their jurisdictions. Drinking and driving is not an option, so make sure to get a designated driver.

2.  Public Intoxication

Essentially, a charge of PI is when a person appears in public and is under the influence of drugs or alcohol to such an extent that he is a danger to himself or others, is boisterous, or displays offensive conduct that annoys another person in his vicinity. The PI charge usually means that you are either so drunk that they find you lying in the bushes, vomiting or passed out; or if you have done something to “annoy” the police officer. It has been my experience that a PI charge usually involves the student doing something to bring attention to himself. That is, the police officer is going to check on you if they find you sleeping or ill. They’re also going to make contact with you if they find you on top of a porta potty with a handle of Jim Beam, or anything along those lines. Once the police officer makes contact with you, how you respond usually determines whether or not you are going to get charges with PI or be allowed to move along.

3. Public Lewdness

Public Lewdness is the negligent exposing of genitals to the public. It is not indecent exposure in that it does not require the gratification component. Essentially, a public lewdness charge begins with a young male who takes the opportunity to relieve himself in public. Once again, peeing in public not only exposes you to the public, but also draws the attention of the police officer. The charge of public lewdness will stay with you for the rest of your life. Quite often the charge is changed to criminal littering; however, if the police officer or sheriff does charge you with public lewdness, it is a charge that needs to be handled seriously. The best way to avoid this charge is to not expose yourself in public. Public lewdness charges also involve mooning, streaking and other activities where the person decides to get naked in public. The advice here is “don’t get naked in public” and avoid relieving yourself in the sight of others.

4. Minor in Possession of Alcohol

The legal drinking age in Alabama is 21. Possession of alcohol by a minor is a criminal offense in Alabama. It subjects the person not only to the criminal charge, but also the loss or suspension of their driver’s license. Don’t believe what people tell you about officers not charging you with a minor in possession of alcohol. If the police officer does see you with alcohol, he or she has every right to charge you with possession of consumption of alcohol by a minor. And they will. Over the last several years, the ABC Board was present at the Rodeo. Their main purpose was to arrest minors for the possession and/or consumption of alcohol, along with other alcohol related offenses. It was their Super Bowl for minor in possession of alcohol cases.

5. Fake ID’s

Leave your fake ID at home. If you produce a fake ID at the rodeo to an officer, you are committing a criminal offense. In fact, the mere possession of some of these ID’s is a criminal offense. Recently, I’ve represented several students charged with possession of a fraudulent or forged document. This is a serious offense because it is a crime of moral turpitude. We have been forced to work diligently to try and get them out from under those charges. Presenting a fake ID to an officer is a more serious offense in that not only are you in possession of a forged document, but you also are now presenting it in an attempt to deceive or obstruct police activities. Once you do this, you will find yourself quickly in the back of a patrol car. Don’t take your fake ID to the Auburn Rodeo.

6. Possession of Marijuana

A police officer picks up the scent of marijuana like a bloodhound on the hunt. Each officer will follow that smell until they find the source. There is no masking it. The police will not overlook the smell, possession, or use of marijuana at this event.  Any person found with marijuana or drug paraphernalia at the rodeo will be arrested. It’s as simple as that.

7. Disorderly Conduct

Disorderly conduct involves either fighting, obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic, making unreasonable noises or disturbing a lawful assembly of persons. It also involves being in public and refusing a lawful order by the police to disburse. Much like PI, disorderly conduct charges do not simply arise from being in public. Normally, you must do something to bring attention to yourself, such as fighting, using obscene gestures, or failing to comply with the lawful order of the police. Quite often, PI and disorderly conduct go together. Police officers will first make contact with somebody and ask them to move along. The response should be “yes sir/ma’am,” and do whatever you can to get out of the line of sight of that officer. However, it has been my experience that when alcohol is involved, students seem to take this opportunity to talk to the police officer and explain why they can’t move along. For example, their friend is here, their ride is here, their purse is here, they’ve left their cell phone, or they just don’t want to. At this point, the officer is becoming “annoyed,” and you may have violated a lawful demand to disburse. Normally, these arrests start near the end of the rodeo rather than the beginning. That is, the officer has probably had enough of the students by the end of the rodeo. Again, the moral of the story is not to attract attention to yourself and to listen to the officer when he tells you to move along.

8. Resisting Arrest

You have now found yourself under arrest. How you react to the arrest by the police officer will determine the ultimate outcome of your case. It’s much more difficult to represent a student who has threatened a police officer, threatened his job, told him he was going to have the mayor fire him or attempt to kick out the rear window of the patrol car.  Not only is resisting arrest another offense, it normally results in some type of jail sentence, which might otherwise have been avoided. If you are attempting to apply for youthful offender or pre-trial diversion program and the police officer objects due to your conduct during the arrest, the Court may not grant you admission into the pre-trial diversion program and/or youthful offender status. Therefore, if the officer tells you that you are under arrest, do not jerk away, run, cry, or threaten the police officer. Also, remember that anything you say while sitting in the back of the patrol car is recorded. Once again, it is very difficult to plead a student’s case before the judge when he is watching a video of said student in the back of the patrol car threatening the police officer, cursing, and otherwise acting inappropriately. Once it is determined that you are being arrested, the best thing for you to do is to comply with the police officer’s terms, remain quiet, and call AAA Bonding.  (Jimmy, at AAA Bonding, is very responsive. Mention my name, Jeff Tickal.)

The above list is not excluding and is not meant to cover all of the offenses you can be charged with while at the Auburn Rodeo 2019. However, keeping these things in mind may help prevent you from getting arrested and allow you to enjoy yourself on April 6th. The items above are always applicable, so keep them in mind when you go downtown or head out for spring break as well.

If you have any questions regarding Auburn Rodeo 2019 Edition, please contact my cell (334)444-4033. We will be available the Saturday and Sunday of the rodeo if you wish to call us or need assistance. If you are arrested, the best thing to do is remain calm, bond out and make an appointment with me for the following week. I wish you all a safe and fun rodeo.

Jeffery G. Tickal, Esq.

Gullage & Tickal, LLP

(334)444-4033 Cell

(334)737-3733 Office

fraternity issues at the alpha psi rodeo

Fraternity Issues at the Alpha Psi Rodeo

By | Alcohol Offenses, Auburn Local, University Discipline | No Comments

The Alpha Psi Rodeo is April 21, 2018 at Sistrunk Farms in Opelika, Alabama (technically, this is Macon County).  The coordinators for the Alpha Psi Rodeo have changed the theme to “Make the Rodeo Great Again”.  By doing that, they are bringing back the BYOB and tailgating which were removed from the Rodeo last year.  In addition, the coordinators for the Rodeo are setting up trailers for rental by different groups to watch the concert and rodeo events.  These trailers will be placed around the rodeo ring and in view of the concert stadium.

Because of the changes this year, a number of issues affect fraternities.  The Alpha Psi Fraternity encourages all the fraternities to attend their function and in the past fraternities have made it a point to congregate together at the rodeo.  That said, this creates an issue for the fraternities under the Interfraternity Council Risk Management Policy.  Specifically, if a fraternity rents a trailer this year for use at the rodeo, essentially this becomes a fraternity event sponsored or endorsed by the Chapter.  In addition, if you hang flags from the trailer designating it to be a fraternity trailer and making it such that an observer would associate it with the fraternity, it would fall under a fraternity event and subject under the Interfraternity Council Risk Management Policies.

Policy 2 provides:

“No alcoholic beverages may be purchased through or with chapter funds nor may the purchase of same for members or guests be undertaken or coordinated by any member in the name of or on behalf of the chapter.  The purchase or use of a bulk quantity or common source(s) of alcoholic beverage, for example, kegs or cases, is prohibited.”

The Alpha Psi Rodeo is a BYOB event.  That means the “O” in BYOB is “own”.  If everyone brings their own alcohol, it will not be a violation of Article 2 of the Interfraternity Council Risk Management Policy.  However, if groups provide kegs, cases, handles of alcohol or alcohol from a cooler or other source, the fraternity may violate the “Common Source Rule.”

It is important that fraternities understand the common source rule and its applicability towards the trailers rented for the Alpha Psi Rodeo.  There should be no coolers or common source alcohol available on the trailers or directly adjacent to the trailers for fraternity members.  Also, keep in mind that it is a violation of the Risk Management Policy to provide alcohol to minors.  By not having a common source of alcohol available to others, a fraternity can avoid both the common source and the distribution of alcohol to a minor which is both a fraternity council and criminal offense.

Jeffrey G. Tickal | GULLAGE & TICKAL, LLP | Attorneys at Law

511 Geneva Street, Opelika, AL 36801

(o) 334-737-3733

photo credit: Thomas Hawk Ride ’em Cowboy via photopin (license)

What is Auburn’s Title IX Policy

By | Auburn Local, University Discipline | No Comments

What is Auburn’s Title IX Policy?

 The term “Title IX” refers to the ninth section of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, a federal law which protects students and employees of federally funded education programs from discrimination based on sex. Initially intended to ensure equality of opportunity and environment for female athletes, Title IX states that:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal funding or assistance.”

In the context of Title IX, it is the responsibility of universities to prevent discrimination in areas such as, “recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; discipline; single-sex education, and employment,” though, recently, Title IX has been referenced mostly in investigations of sexual misconduct and harassment.

Title IX requires Universities to maintain a formal policy on sexual harassment and misconduct, to have a specialized “Title IX Coordinator” on campus, and to conduct investigations and formal procedures in the event of a violation.

Who Does Auburn’s Title XI Policy Policy Apply To?

 According to Auburn’s policy on sexual and gender-based misconduct, the rules and penalties of Title IX apply to all students and employees of the university. If a student or employee commits or is the victim of prohibited conduct, the policy applies when:

“(1) the conduct occurs on the University campus or other property owned or controlled by the University or by an officially recognized University organization;

(2) the conduct occurs in the context of a University employment or education program or activity, including, but not limited to, University-sponsored study abroad, research, on-line programs, or internship programs; or

(3) the conduct occurs outside the context of a University employment or education program or activity, but has continuing adverse effects on or creates a hostile environment for Students, Employees or Third Parties while on the University campus or other property owned or controlled by the University or in any University employment or education program or activity.”

If a student or employee of Auburn is involved in an incident occurring under these circumstances, they are subject to the procedures and penalties set in place by the university.

How Should I Report a Title IX Violation?

Auburn encourages anyone who has become aware of the occurrence of prohibited conduct to report the incident to the university or local law enforcement as soon as possible. Reports of conduct violation can be made by contacting Auburn’s Title IX Coordinator (as listed in under that heading here) or by filling out a report online at bit.ly/aureport. In the event that prohibited conduct has been reported to both law enforcement and the university, an investigation will likely be initiated by both entities.

What Happens If I Report A Conduct Violation to the Title IX Coordinator?

In the event that a person reports an incident of prohibited conduct, Auburn’s Title IX coordinator will make an initial assessment of the case. The first goal of the coordinator during the initial assessment is to assess and ensure the complainant’s immediate safety, making sure the individual receives medical care if needed and informing them of their right to contact law enforcement. After the complainant’s safety is taken care of, the coordinator will offer relevant university resources and determine which type of resolution the complainant wants to pursue: alternative, formal, or neither. Once a decision of action is made to investigate or take some other form of action which will affect the person accused of conduct violation, this individual will also be made aware of any resources or options available to them. A convenient infographic illustrating the misconduct reporting process can be found here.

 

What Resources Are Provided by Title XI?

The university has many resources available for those affected by sexual misconduct such as: medical examination, protective measures, and counseling. A comprehensive list of community and university resources can be found here.

What Actions Will Auburn Take in the Event of a Title IX Conduct Violation?

If no alternative resolution can be found, the Title IX coordinator will designate an investigator from the University’s Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity office and a formal investigation will begin. Both parties (complainant and respondent) will receive written notices containing all the basic case information gathered to that point and will be encouraged to preserve any possible evidence, which they will later submit to investigators along with any other relevant information. The entire process is slated to take no more than 60 days from commencement to resolution, and each party has the right to an advisor, such as an attorney, throughout this period.

What Should I Do If I’ve Receive a Title IX Violation Letter

If you’ve been accused of engaging in prohibited conduct against another Auburn University student or employee, and your accuser has chosen to report this conduct to the campus title IX coordinator, the process of investigation will start with a letter. The letter will explain the general gist of the accusation made against you, and will request that you schedule a meeting with the Title IX coordinator. DO NOT respond to the letter immediately. The first thing you should do is contact an attorney; preferably one with experience in sexual harassment defense. It’s important to remember that anything you say or do can be used against you during the investigation, so it’s best to consult your attorney before taking any action or speaking to anyone about the accusation.

The Title IX investigator will also mention in the letter that you should gather and preserve any case-related evidence; this is a good idea. Any text messages, sent or received pictures, or social media posts or messages should be printed out and kept in a file, as the information contained within these items could ultimately help to prove your innocence.

It is also incredibly important that you do not contact the accuser in any way, form, or fashion. Absolutely no phone calls, texts, snapchats, messages relayed through friends—nothing. Even if you think apologizing seems like a good idea, DO NOT act on this urge, as it is an admission of guilt which will be used towards your conviction. Even speaking about the case with friends is a bad idea, as they could be asked to testify during the proceedings.

The investigation and proceedings which follow your receipt of a Title IX violation letter require delicate action and strategic communication from your defense, and your only your attorney will know how to respond to the letter in a way which will preserve your innocence and prevent any accidental admittance of guilt.

What Factors Will the Investigation Consider to Determine Responsibility?

During the investigation, investigators will take into account any relevant medical and counseling records, prior or subsequent conduct, prior sexual history, and any available information gathered from coordination with law enforcement.

What Are the Possible Sanctions Under Auburn’s Title IX Policy?

Once the investigator finds sufficient evidence to determine responsibility for the incident, either party may submit a statement for consideration in determining sanctions. One or more sanctions will be applied based on factors such as: severity of prohibited conduct, whether the conduct was violent, impact of prohibited conduct on the victim, any prior misconduct, whether the respondent accepted responsibility, or any other relevant factors.

Possible sanctions against the respondent include:

 

“• Expulsion: Termination of student status for any indefinite period.

  • Suspension: Exclusion from classes and other privileges or activities or from the University for a definite period of time.
  • Suspension held in abeyance: Exclusion from classes and other privileges or activities or from the University for a definite period of time to be enforced should another violation occur.
  • Restitution: Reimbursement for damages or misappropriation of property.
  • Disciplinary Probation: Exclusion from participation in privileged or extracurricular activities for a definite period of time.
  • Reprimand: A written censure for violation of the Policy (and, if applicable, the Prohibited Harassment policies and/or the Code of Student Discipline) placed in the Student’s record, including the possibility of more severe disciplinary sanctions should another violation occur within a stated period of time.
  • Warning Notice: A notice, in writing, that continuation or repetition of conduct found wrongful, within a period of time stated in the warning, may be cause for more severe disciplinary action.
  • Admonition: An oral statement that the Student violated the Policy (and, if applicable, the Prohibited Harassment policies and/or the Code of Student Discipline).”

 

What Will Be the Final Outcome of a Title IX Investigation?

Investigators will release a final report, enacting any applied sanctions, to the Title IX coordinator within 5 days of receiving the parties’ impact and mitigation statements.  Within 2 days of receiving the report, the coordinator will provide both parties with a “Notice of Outcome” which explains the violations of conduct committed, how the findings were determined, the sanctions that will be applied on the respondent, and the rationale used to determine the sanctions. At this point, both parties have up to 10 days to submit a written appeal in the case that they find a procedural error that effected the case’s outcome, a lack of sufficient evidence, disproportionate sanctions with respect to the violations committed, or any new, substantial evidence. If the decision is made to accept the appeal, that decision is final; if not, a “Notice of Final Outcome” will be released to both parties, and any sanctions or remedies will be set to action.

How Will a Title IX Violation Appear on my Transcript?

If a student is found responsible for an act of prohibited conduct and has undergone the investigation process to its full extent, a note will be attached to the student’s academic transcript, containing such language as “[Suspended, Expelled, or Withdrew While Under Investigation] for a Violation of the University’s Policy on Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence.” It is possible to have the letter removed, however, in the case that the student has completed the duration of any applied sanctions and is determined to be in good standing with the university. Generally, it is a good idea to expunge any student conduct violations or criminal charges from your record before graduating, because a tarnished record can have long-lasting negative effects on graduate school and career prospects.