It’s Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, and that means a whole lot of fun for most people, but trouble for some people. As a criminal defense attorney for 20 years, I’ve certainly helped hundreds of people get themselves out of trouble during Mardi Gras, but I’ve also learned an number of ways to try to help people stay out of trouble in the first place during this time of year, and I wanted to offer a few tips about that.
Tip No. 1: Drink Responsibly
The first tip would be to try to drink responsibly. Inevitably, Mardi Gras leads to people drinking less responsibly than they otherwise would, but in my experience 90% of problems that arise during this time of year arise because people have had too much to drink. So to the extent that you can manage your drinking, I think you can avoid a lot of the other problems that I’m about to discuss.
Tip No. 2: Avoid Rowdy and Obnoxious Behavior
The second general tip is to avoid are rowdy and obnoxious confrontations with other individuals. Whether they are verbal or escalate to physical confrontations, aggressive or obnoxious behavior toward other people is generally going to result in some kind of involvement from law enforcement, and potential criminal problems for you.
Tip No. 3: Don’t Argue with Police Officers
The above is especially true with respect to confrontations with police officers. There are a lot of police officers on the street during Mardi Gras. They are going to be asking you to move. They are going to be asking you to stop doing certain things. You may feel that you have a right to be where you are, or to be doing the thing that you are doing, but you are not going to win that argument with a police officer. So just listen kindly, and move on.
Tip No. 4: Don’t Throw Things at Floats, or Try to Jump on a Float
There are also some general parade behavior tips that I can give you. Don’t throw things at the floats or riders on the floats. That includes beads, cups, beverages – any thing like that. Don’t try to jump on a Mardi Gras float. You will get yourself into a lot of trouble for that. It’s also very dangerous – you can get hurt.
Tip No. 5: Mind the Ladder and Chair Ordinances
This year police are more aggressively enforcing the ladder and chair ordinances – that is the fact that ladders need to be back off the street anywhere from 6-10 feet. No one has a tape measure, but just a reasonable amount off the street, such that if someone fell off the ladder they wouldn’t fall directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle or float – also, no chairs in the side streets between the neutral ground. Police are enforcing that a lot more this year. I’ve already been out to a few parades and seen that happening.
Call a Lawyer if You Need Help
So if you do find yourself in a situation of being arrested or cited for one of these violations, my advice to you would be to get an attorney involved. An attorney can help to get the charges dismissed or reduced, can appear in court for you if you are from out of town and can’t make it to court. If you are flying out of town before your court date, contact an attorney.
There is also a lot more information about all of this in various places on my website, so feel free to browse around and check it out. Give me a call if you want to talk. I am always interested and available to answer questions and give you advice. Above all, have a very safe and happy Mardi Gras. Enjoy yourselves.