of the Tribune
You’re in college, and there are so many memories to be made. One you probably don’t want is of being cuffed and stuffed for a stay in the local hoosegow.
If you read 360’s Money Saving Guide for Poor College Students we hope it helped you save some dough, but one reader was concerned it might lead impressionable young people into trouble. If you’re trying to save money, you definitely don’t want a staggering fine; which leads to Part 2 of our back-to-school guide, the College Student’s (or Anybody’s) Guide for Staying out of Trouble.
Getting your drink on
In our money-saving guide, we suggested carrying a flask was one way to save money when going out on the town. It is; but there are a few guidelines to follow whilst lifting the elbow.
First, you can’t drink from your flask in your car, on the sidewalk, a park or any other public place because drinking in public is illegal in the Quad Cities of Lewiston, Clarkston, Moscow and Pullman, which all have open-container ordinances. Once you unscrew the lid on your flask you’ve got an open container. If a police officer sees you do it, you’re facing hundreds of dollars in fines. If you’re still a minor it’s even worse, to the tune of $500 or more.
A Moscow bar owner pointed out that in Idaho a bar owner can have his or her license revoked if a patron imbibes from an outside source of alcohol. So, don’t drink from your flask in a bar. Be discreet. If you insist on drinking before you turn 21, use the money you’ll save in fines for a trip to a country like Canada or Australia, where the drinking age is lower. If you want to drink in public, visit Las Vegas or New Orleans.
And, of course, never drive while intoxicated or accept a ride from someone who is.
Partaking in marijuana
Yes, marijuana is legal in Washington but like alcohol it comes with an array of “buts.”
Marijuana must be purchased from a business with a license and then consumed in a private place because public consumption is illegal. Those who display it or smoke it in public face a fine of $103 across the state, although fines may vary by city. In Seattle, officers give people a warning before issuing a $27 ticket.
It’s legal to possess an ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of infused product in solid form and 72 ounces of infused product in liquid form. If you have more than that, the police can take it away.
Heed this college folk: It is illegal to posses or consume marijuana anywhere on campus at Washington State University. This is because WSU must comply with federal laws prohibiting marijuana in order to receive grants from the federal government, explained Lt. Mike Larson of the WSU Police Department.
If you are younger than 21, marijuana is bad news. In Washington, if you are age 18 to 20, you can be charged with a felony and face a penalty of up five years in the state penitentiary and a maximum fine of $5,000, depending on your conviction history.
Across the border, Idaho does not take kindly to the kind bud, so best keep your distance.
If you’re caught with a simple possession of pot (less than 42.5 grams of unpackaged bud) and its accoutrements you can be cited for two misdemeanor crimes under state law, said Moscow Police Lt. Dave Lehmitz. Possession of marijuana can cost $740 for your first offence, while possession of paraphernalia is $640.
Here’s another item from our money-saving list that deserves some elaboration. First, never get into a trash compactor. A trash compactor crushes garbage and will crush you. No day-old bread or discarded chair is worth the cost of your life. A Dumpster is a container with a lid and no menacing hydraulic system.
Dumpster diving is not illegal in Moscow, Pullman, Lewiston or Clarkston. That doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous or potentially unhealthy. Consider the things people throw away — rusty nails, broken glass, fecal matter. If a Dumpster is marked “No Trespassing” or is on private property owned by an individual, store or complex and the owner complains, the police have a reason to get involved. A Dumpster could be dumped while you are in it, so best bring a buddy to keep watch.
Keeping your stuff
Theft is all too common in college. Never leave your belongings unattended. Register your electronic devices with information technology so that if something is stolen police may be able to track where it’s at and when it’s in use. Keep your bike locked up. Bikes can also be registered with police.
Throwing a party
You may have noticed a common theme for staying out of trouble is not being a public nuisance. If you’re going to throw a party, Lehmitz suggests giving your neighbors a heads up and asking them to let you know if the noise level gets too loud so you can do something about it before the police are involved. This could include steps like turning down the music, closing some windows or getting people to stay inside.
Say your party goes well. In fact, it’s so good that the 10 people you invited turn into 20, then 40 and suddenly your house is so crowded you can’t see walls or doors. It’s officially out of control. Now you want the police to come, and Lehmitz says don’t hesitate to make the call. They have no problem clearing out a house for a property owner or responsible party.
If you’re not the responsible type, noise complaints can range in price from $100 in Pullman to $440 after midnight in Moscow, and karma will one day take its sweet revenge.