I was arrested at Summer Camp Music Festival; what will happen in court?

Being arrested is an intimidating and scary experience. In this article I will explain what you can expect to happen if you have been arrested while on your way, or at Summer Camp Music Festival in Chillicothe, Illinois.

You, like many people over the weekend of May 23-26, at Summer Camp 2015, have come to Three Sister’s Park in Chillicothe to enjoy three days of Steve Miller Band, Umphrey’s McGee, STS9 and others, but have found yourself arrested for possessing or delivering a controlled substance. All is not lost! I personally, and as a former partner at Miller & Pugh Law Offices have helped numerous people facing Peoria County drug charges and Putnam County Drug Charges stemming from summer camp. Criminal charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance or Delivery of a Controlled Substance are felonies. They are serious criminal charges where a person’s livelihood, freedom and status in the community can be permanently affected by the negative consequences that can result from a criminal conviction and incarceration.It is imperative that you retain the best criminal lawyer possible to fight for you and protect your rights.


Every year since Summer Camp Music Festival was first held in 2001, there has been an increased number of attendees and a corresponding increase in arrests. The attitude of the Prosecuting authority in Peoria County, the Peoria County State’s Attorney’s Office, towards those unfortunate enough to be arrested has changed considerably over the years. What was initially viewed as harmless college kids just having fun is now viewed as serious criminal offenses that should be punished by prison time.

Police tactics in enforcing Illinois drug laws at Summer Camp Music Festival in and around the Chillicothe, Illinois area have evolved over time as well. Where most arrests in the Rome and Chillicothe, Illinois area used to be the result of a traffic stop and subsequent k-9 search, most now are the result of undercover buys at the festival itself. I believe this change in tactics is occurring for a myriad of reasons.

First, traffic stops are generally easier for a defense attorney to challenge on constitutional grounds than an undercover buy is. Secondly, traffic stops normally result in a possession of controlled substance charge (Molly, X, Ecstacy, LSD, Cocaine), whereas an undercover buy results in a delivery of controlled substance charge which is a generally a higher, more serious charge. Lastly, to enter Summer Camp Music Festival you must pass a sign that states by entering the premises you are consenting to be searched, which makes it very difficult for an attorney to argue that a search of your person was unconstitutional. For all the reasons stated above, police tactics have evolved over the years away from traffic stops in the immediate vicinity of Summer Camp Music Festival.


As a former Peoria County Prosecutor and a Criminal Defense Attorney recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as a Top 100 Trial Attorney and the American Society of Legal Advocates as a top 40 criminal defense lawyer under 40, I have put my unique skills to work for multiple clients facing the same prospects of imprisonment, felony convictions and high fines as you presently find yourself. This is not a hopeless situation, and I can help you. I have been able to assist people in your exact situation to avoid prison and avoid felony convictions.


Once you have posted bond (also known as bail), you will be given a court date and assigned a courtroom. This is your 1st appearance date which is also known as an arraignment. At this 1st court date you will be informed of the nature of the charges against you, the potential penalties of those charges and if you have not retained private counsel prior to your first court date you will be asked whether you intend to hire an attorney, represent yourself, or will be screened for the services of the public defender.

At this 1st court appearance it is standard to enter a plea of Not Guilty and set the case to a new court date. A plea of Not Guilty is not a plea of innocence. A plea of Not Guilty simply means that you are not ready at that time to enter a plea of guilty.

After this first court date, formal discovery will occur where each side exchanges documents, videos, lab reports etc that demonstrate what they believe the evidence in the case consists of.

After discovery has been exchanged the case moves into the motion, negotiation, or trial preperation stage of the case. Depending on th facts of a persons case certain motions may be filed which can lead to the exclussion of evidence and the possible dismissal of the case. My office has successfully filed and argued such motions in the past. Motion practice is often very fact specific and requires many hours of legal research by an experienced criminal defense attorney to be successfull. If after review of the discovery, no pre-trial motions are appropiate, the parties either attempt to resolve a case via a negotiated plea agreement or proceed to set the matter for trial. Having an attorney on your side who does take cases to trial and has been successfull, provides the prosecution with more incentive to give you a better deal in negotiations.

The earlier you hire a good criminal defense attorney, the sooner the attorney can act to build a defense for you and to protect your rights. On multiple occassions, when hired after the arrest but before the first court appearance, I have been able to convince the State not to file charges or to file reduced charges. If you are arrested you should speak with an attorney as soon as possible.

If you have further questions, please visit my website at www.il-crimlaw.com and complete my on-line submission form.


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