OIU is watching you


By Frank Lewis

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If you are one of those people who like to learn something new every day, here’s a couple of things you may not have known. There is an investigative unit attached to the Ohio Department of Public Safety and agents from that unit are going to be watching you if you attend a concert this summer.

As the top names in the music industry play to sold out crowds at some of Ohio’s best and biggest concert venues, and multi-day music festivals, undercover agents from the Ohio Investigative Unit (OIU) will be keeping an eye on you to make sure you obey the laws.

Agents of the OIU want all concert-goers to remember to drink responsibly, don’t drink if you haven’t turned 21, and do not furnish alcohol to anyone under 21 or to anyone who is already intoxicated.

For many of these concerts, OIU will have undercover agents working alongside local law enforcement officials, looking for various alcohol and also drug offenses.

“Several concert-goers begin drinking hours before the show starts and are often extremely intoxicated by the time the opening act(s) takes the stage,” Enforcement Commander Eric Wolf said. “We want the concert experience to be safe and enjoyable for everyone inside the venue and outside by the tailgating and camping sites. By following the law everyone can have a safer and more enjoyable concert experience.”

Anyone convicted of providing or purchasing alcohol to a person under 21 years of age may face a maximum sentence of six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

Another common violation agents see at concerts is the use of false identification. If you’re caught with a fake ID or if you have furnished your ID to someone to obtain alcohol, penalties may include six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. Also, the person furnishing their ID could lose their driver license for a year.

If you are under 21 and are caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .02 percent or higher, a level that can be reached after just one or two drinks, you can be arrested. Punishment is suspension of your driver license for at least 90 days up to a maximum of two years, plus four points added to your driving record. Having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle is also illegal.

Penalties for drug violations depend on the type and the amount of drugs.

Wolf said – “By stopping senseless tragedies associated with illegal underage alcohol consumption and public intoxication, we are committing to making a safer Ohio. If you have information about a bar; store or carryout selling beer and/or liquor to persons under the age of 21; or you have information of alcohol violations at a concert venue, please notify the Ohio Investigative Unit by calling #677 on your cell phone and your complaint will be investigated.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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