Simple Steps to Avoid a Public Intoxication Ticket

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By Mitch Smith>The University of Iowa
The beer is flowing, shots are flying and bodies are rubbing up against one another on the dance floor as loud music blares from the speakers. Such is the culture of many college campuses each Thursday through Saturday until the wee hours of the morning. As soon as the words “Last Call!” are shouted by the bartender, the masses of students hit the streets to make the trek home. After a successful night downtown, the final step is getting back in one piece – without a public intoxication ticket.



Don’t let the long arm of the law put a major dent in your wallet. These simple steps will have you partying all night and waking up with a hangover in your own room, not in a cell next to a crystal meth tweaker or the straight shooting drug dealer.
1.     Avoid piggyback rides: What are we? In third grade? Piggyback rides are like an STD – avoid giving them and avoid receiving them. It makes you an easy target when you’re going for a ride on someone’s back. If you want a ride, follow step two.
2.     Splurge on a cab: Feeling too drunk to make the walk home? You already spent sixty dollars at the bar buying rounds of shots and pitchers of beer all night. What’s an extra five bucks to guarantee a safe and arrest-free return home? Better to get a ride home in the back of a taxi than in the back of a squad car.
3.     Walk, don’t run: Remember those days of elementary school? Pretend you’re going to get a drink of water and you’re carefully being watched by the hall monitor. Take it slow. There’s no rush. If you get caught this time, you’re going somewhere worse than detention.
4.     Don’t yell: Once again, let’s go back to those carefree days of youth. Take Idiot A as an example. Walking out of a bar on a chilly Saturday night, Idiot A feels compelled to scream to the rest of the world how wasted he is. Good move? (For the slow ones, the answer is no).
5.     Avoid the urge to pee: After beating your buddies in back to back to back to back etc. chugging contests, your bladder is feeling pretty full. Very full. You need to empty that bladder. Stat. I know you gotta go and that the wall outside the bar looks like the perfect spot to leave your mark, but just hold it in a tiny bit longer. Peeing is possibly the worst thing you can do and makes for an easy target for cops. A public urination ticket can sometimes land you on the sex offender list. Try explaining that one to future employers. This is real life, kids.
6.     You’re not home ‘til you’re home: This goes for the folks returning to the dorms. You’re not home free when you get inside the hallowed walls of a dorm. Don’t pass out in the lobby of your dorm only to be found by security staff or police. Take a few extra steps and pass out in your bed, not the couch in the lobby.
7.     If you’re caught, you’re caught: If this step applies to you, it means you failed to follow all of this fool-proof advice. That being said, just because you’re an idiot and didn’t listen doesn’t mean you should make a break for it and get into more trouble. The drinking ticket looks better on your record than assaulting or fleeing a police officer.
Getting out of college without a ticket – I’ll drink to that. Cheers!


photo from

College Magazine Staff

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