Fans of the Philadelphia Eagles are either celebrated or notorious for how ferociously they support their team. Very few, if any, NFL teams have such devoted and outspoken fans, and the Eagles' appearance in Super Bowl LVII raised things to a fever pitch not seen since Super Bowl LII in 2018, when they defeated the Patriots 41-33. Unfortunately, this time around, the Eagles lost to the Chiefs in a thrilling but heartbreaking game that went down to the last minutes before it was decided.
Even before the loss, Eagles fans had taken to the streets and were seen flipping at least one car in anticipation of the big game. Afterward
s, with the Lombardi Trophy heading to Kansas City instead of Philadelphia, there were reports of multiple arrests after upset fans crowded the streets and confronted police officers in riot gear.
While in situations such as these, the vast majority of fans typically manage to blow off steam without incident, it's not unusual for there to be arrests for public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, vandalism, criminal mischief, and even assault and arson.
If you find yourself arrested in the course of one of these spontaneous mass public demonstrations, don't count on prosecutors or the courts to give you a break just because your local team lost (or won, as the case may be). Your best strategy is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who understands how the courts work and can help you defend yourself. Joseph D. Lento has the experience you need to protect your rights.
Here are some basics about the most common types of crowd-celebration arrests and potential consequences:
Disorderly Conduct: You may be charged with disorderly conduct for a range of behaviors that generally boil down to fighting, threatening to fight, making too much noise, or creating a “hazardous or physically offensive condition that serves no legitimate purpose.” Penalties range from the relatively mild “summary offense” to the more serious third-degree misdemeanor, which brings with it the potential of a year in jail and a fine of up to $2000.
Public Drunkenness: You can be charged with public drunkenness if you are in public while “manifestly under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.” Penalties range from a fine of up to $500 for a first offense to up to $1000 for subsequent offenses.
Criminal Mischief/Vandalism: Criminal mischief includes what's commonly known as vandalism. It punishes the act of damaging other people's property, or tampering with it in a way that endangers another person or their property. Penalties vary significantly – from a summary offense to a third-degree felony – depending on the amount of property damage involved. Those convicted of a third-degree felony face up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
Assault: Assault in Pennsylvania can be “simple” or “aggravated.” The difference is in the amount of bodily injury that is caused or attempted, and also who the target of the assault is. An assault against a police officer, for example, is, by definition, an aggravated assault, even if there is no attempt to cause serious injury. Crimes range from a third-degree misdemeanor (up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2000) to a first-degree felony (up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000).
Arson: Arson is a serious offense that can be charged as a third, second, or first-degree felony, depending on what is burned, and is charged as second degree murder if someone dies as a result. Sentences vary depending on the severity of the conviction; for second-degree murder, the penalty is up to life in prison without parole.
Call Joseph D. Lento for Help
If you've been arrested and charged with a crime as a result of a post-game celebration, contact Joseph D. Lento as soon as possible for help. Joseph D. Lento has represented clients in Pennsylvania in a wide range of criminal cases, and he and the Lento Law Firm Criminal Defense Team have the experience to help you defend your rights. No matter what kind of criminal charge you face, Joseph D. Lento is here to help you. Call Joseph D. Lento today at 888.535.3686 or through the Lento Law Firm contact form to find out how he can help.