It’s summer, which means parties, fireworks, and late-night hangouts at the beach. While it can seem like the perfect summer escape, the beach is not an entirely lawless place. Too much of a good time sometimes translates into booze-fueled fights, noise complaints, and other mischief that can get you in trouble with the law. Here are a things to avoid doing at your next summer beach bash.
1. Drinking too much
If the police find you hiding in the bushes and looking for yourself, you’re more than likely to be cited or arrested for public intoxication. Well over 100 party goers were arrested during fourth-of-July festivities in Newport Beach, mostly for alcohol-related issues and fights. Keep a tight leash on the liquor to keep your friends (and yourself) out of trouble, and put the booze away if kids are around!
2. Making noise
Playing loud music, letting off fireworks, or making other noises can be illegal at certain times, depending on local ordinances. Disturbing the peace technically can include not only noise, but fighting or making threats. Also check your city’s rules on fireworks before putting on a display. And — because you’re a nice upstanding citizen — clean up your mess before you go home to avoid littering charges.
3. Getting naked
A skimpy swimsuit or too-loose trunks can lead to indecent exposure charges — especially if there are minors around. Even trying to sneakily take a leak in the bushes can get you into serious trouble — as in sex offense charges requiring lifetime registration. Port-a-Johns aren’t pretty, but you’d be wise to have one in sight at all times, especially if you’ve been sucking down party beverages. And keep an eye on your kids, because even toddlers can be ticketed for peeing on the ground, too.
4. Bringing Fido
No one can complain if your friendly pooch chases a frisbee around and minds his own business at the beach. Do, however, make sure your dog is welcome on that stretch of sand and surf, as some city-owned beaches or parks might not be so welcoming. Please help keep beaches dog-friendly and never leave your dog unattended; always keep your dog on a leash or under voice control, and — most importantly — always clean up after your dog.
5. Getting behind the wheel
Unless you’d like to end up stranded on the beach all night, have designated drivers at your party — and don’t let anyone intoxicated drive themselves home, lest you should be held liable for allowing them to do so. While you may not have the engine going and your car in drive, intent to drive is often enough to get you a DUI. Think proximity to drivers’ seat, possession of open containers, possession of keys, and so on. The best idea may be to place the keys in the trunk or under a floor mat, and curl up in the back seat. And if an officer does catch you drunk in your vehicle, having a sober designated driver hanging out in the car with you — whether you’re going anywhere or not — can help your case greatly.
There’s nothing wrong with throwing a party with your friends. Just be aware of local laws that could bring your party to an abrupt halt. Be courteous, act civilized, and you’re likely to stay out of trouble, but don’t assume everything’s a safe bet.