Worst Case Scenarios

    Just as you’re about to mark another tally on your arm, you lurch forward and your plastic sunglasses and breakfast stare back at you from the ground. That cute boy from your political science discussion section isn’t the only one who saw you blow chunks–as you straighten up, you come eye to eye with the Po-Po.

    • In Illinois you can get a ticket for underage drinking which can be up to $500, and a prison term of up to 30 days.
    • For possessing open alcohol in a public place you can get fined between $500 and $1000 and serve a six-month prison term.
    • If you are unresponsive and taken to the hospital, medical fees can be pretty hefty – for one Northwestern student who was taken to the hospital in the fall of 2007, the ambulance ride alone cost $2750.
    • These are some pretty scary punishments. But personal experience has taught me that unless you are uncooperative or have serious prior offenses, there is so much drinking going on during Dillo Day that police won’t go out of their way to sniff your red cup.

    How to minimize the consequences:
    • Don’t be sloppy – if the Wedding Crashers’s phrase “lock it up” is appropriate for any situation, it’s this one.
    • Be cooperative – Dillo Day is busy for police, so don’t turn it into a staring contest. It’s up to you how honest you want to be about your personal details, but telling a cop your name is “Art Vandelay” will not lend to the authenticity of your “sobriety.”
    • If you do end up pulling out your wallet, make sure your fake ID isn’t visible. If you are caught with a fake ID, it’s considered a felony in Illinois, and you can potentially be imprisoned for a year or more. And according to Evanston’s City Code, you can also be fined between $500 to $1000.

    After the first concert sounded like a great time to smoke up but just as you’re bringing out some herb for a North Beach blaze session, you’re spotted by a uniform.

    • According to Illinois law, if you get caught with up to 2.5 grams (.08 of an ounce) of weed, it’s a class C misdemeanor meaning up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. If it’s 2.6 to 10.0 grams (about a one-third of an ounce) it counts as a class B misdemeanor meaning up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500.
    • If you’re caught selling or growing marijuana, or are found with drug paraphernalia (basically anything involved in the consumption or manufacturing of drugs), it counts as another misdemeanor. Upon conviction, this is punishable by a fine of $100 to $500 and/or incarceration in a penal institution other than a penitentiary (like a local jail) for up to six months.
    • Worry about the police, but you are more likely to get into trouble if you smoke in your dorm room – CA’s are obligated to call the authorities if they detect marijuana.

    How to minimize the consequences:
    • Don’t attract unnecessary attention. In fact, avoid the situation entirely and stay inside (not in your dorm) watching Planet Earth. If you’re craving the fresh air that accompanies Dillo Day, then bring eye drops, gum and spray to hide the scent (try Febreze Auto).

    You stopped by Porn at Tech and are a little riled-up. You sneak into an empty classroom in University Hall with your significant other. As things are really heating up — let’s say your knickers are on a computer monitor halfway across the room – you hear the door handle jiggle.

    • Breaking into an academic building counts as trespassing, for which you may be arrested. You can also get up to 1 year in county jail and a $1000 fine.
    • While it is unlikely that you will receive jail time or a fine for getting frisky by the Lakefill, breaking into university property will have harsher repercussions.
    • If you are caught having sex in public you can be charged with public indecency too (this also applies if you have an urge to go streaking). This is another misdemeanor, for which you can receive jail time or a fine.

    How to minimize the consequences
    • PDA isn’t a crime – but intuition should indicate that exposing anything in the “bathing suit area” in public is illegal. So if you love wearing your birthday suit, hang out in a private residence.
    • If you have the burning desire to go streaking, make sure there are no kids nearby and don’t do it more than two times. You don’t want to have to go through life labeled a sex offender.


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