Summer Camp

Every year, thousands of jam band fans and others descend upon Chillicothe, Ill., for the annual Summer Camp music festival. Since 2001, the three-day music festival over Memorial Day weekend has more than doubled the population of Chillicothe. As many as 30,000 people came last year to hear such greats as Moe, Trey Anastasio Band and Blues Traveler. And with such a big gathering of people, there are always some who manage to run afoul of the law.

Lives can be ruined by a few bad choices and nowhere is that more evident than at Summer Camp where people have been arrested by undercover police officers, stopped for traffic violations or been searched at a check point. Drugs, by far, are the most common charges with marijuana, heroin, cocaine, Ecstasy and LSD among the items seized by police.

And again, for most, criminal charges aren’t an issue. But with police manning check points or looking for traffic infractions on every highway or street leading to the park, just making it to Summer Camp can feel like running the gauntlet.

Charges range simple possession to distribution. Felonies and misdemeanors are doled out. With the vast number of people coming from out of town, this can lead to great headaches. Scholarships can be lost. Fines and court costs can reach into the thousands of dollars. Prison time is a very real possibility with some being charged with felonies that can send them to prison for at least six and possibly up to 30 years.

It doesn’t take much. A single joint of marijuana can be a misdemeanor. A single gram of cocaine can be a felony. Even trace amounts of cocaine can lead to charges which can result in loss of employment, being kicked out of school or worse.

So, above all, go to the festival and have fun. Obey the law, but if you do get into trouble, you’ll need an attorney familiar with the various jurisdictions and how they operate. You’ll need someone who has handled dozens of these types of cases and negotiated fair and reasonable outcomes. And you’ll need someone who understands that no one should suffer needlessly for one bad choice.

That person is Matt Miller of the Miller Law Offices…