For Philadelphians who love music and the electric energy of live concerts, Hersheypark Stadium in Hershey, PA, is a popular spot. However, the local police, prosecutors, and courts in this part of the Commonwealth aren’t exactly welcoming of outsiders, mainly if they cause problems.

Many travelers and concertgoers don’t anticipate the stark contrast between Philly and these smaller Central Pennsylvania communities regarding criminal charges. Their jails are not as full, their police departments are well-funded, and they treat criminal behavior harshly.

Criminal Charges in Hershey, PA

Beyond the immediate shock of being arrested at a concert and the potential fallout, the logistical challenges of dealing with charges away from home only worsen things.

You’ll be thrust into an unfamiliar and unforgiving legal system, making it harder to navigate hearings and proceedings. The need for multiple trips back to Dauphin County for court appearances can lead to missed work, unexpected expenses, and significant disruption of your daily life. As a result, even relatively minor offenses can escalate into significant issues.

Common Arrests & Charges at Hersheypark Stadium

The 2023 Hersheypark Stadium summer concert series kicked off in May with Blink-182. Artists like the Zac Brown Band, Jason Aldean, Guns N’ Roses, and The Chicks have taken the stage in the months since, with more to follow. But like any event with large crowds where drug and alcohol consumption is common, concerts can lend themselves to poor decision-making. This is how many end up in handcuffs.

Here are the standard charges associated with concerts in Hersey, PA, and what you can expect if you or a loved one is arrested:

  • Disorderly Conduct: From being excessively rowdy, blocking pathways, or engaging in fights, this is a frequent charge. It may sound minor, but a conviction can impact your record.
  • Public Intoxication/Underage Drinking: Drinking beyond limits or underage drinking at a concert can lead to these charges.
  • Drug Possession: Some concertgoers may indulge in recreational drugs, which, if caught, leads to drug possession charges. These can be potentially severe depending on the substance and amount.
  • DUI/DWI: Driving under the influence is a grave error after a concert. The authorities in Hershey are vigilant about this.
  • Assault & Battery: Whether you allegedly got too aggressive in a mosh pit or a disagreement in the parking lot turned ugly, a fight can result in severe charges and life-altering penalties.
  • Sexual Offenses: The energy at a concert, paired with alcohol and drug use, can lead to a decreased sense of boundaries and an increased likelihood of inappropriate behavior. But be warned – accusations of groping, indecent exposure, and sexual assault are taken very seriously at this venue.

What to Expect if You’re Arrested at Hersheypark Stadium

Perhaps you were arrested by undercover officers for underage drinking, detained by event security after a fight broke out, or pulled over by state police for DUI after the show. No matter what led to it, an arrest in Derry Township or elsewhere in Dauphin County, PA, generally includes:

  • Initial Detainment: Once arrested, you will typically be taken into custody by the arresting officer, whether it’s Derry Township Police, State Police, or another agency.
  • The Booking Processing: After arrest, you could be transported to the local Derry Township Police station or the Dauphin County Booking Center in Harrisburg for processing. This will involve taking fingerprints, photos (mug shots), and documenting personal information.
  • A Preliminary Arraignment: After processing, you will have a preliminary arraignment. This is typically done before a magisterial district judge, where the charges will be formally read, and bail can be set. Dauphin County has multiple magisterial district courts; the specific one will depend on where the arrest occurred.
  • Preliminary Hearing: A preliminary hearing will be scheduled if the case proceeds. This is where the judge determines if there’s enough evidence to hold the case for trial. If the evidence is sufficient, the case will be “held for court” and proceed to the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas.
  • Appear in Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas: This is the trial court level for more serious criminal cases. Cases held for court during the preliminary hearing will be sent to this court in Harrisburg for further proceedings, including formal arraignment, pre-trial motions, potential plea negotiations, and possibly trial.

Charges in Hershey are Unique.

The Derry Township Police are not your ordinary small-town police force. In many ways, they operate under the influence of Hershey, making their department well-funded, with plenty of resources.

If you’re thinking, “It’s just a small town; how tough can it be?” – think again. In a smaller jurisdiction, these officers may have fewer cases. This can mean they dedicate more time and resources to cases. They ensure charges are thoroughly pursued and evidence is appropriately collected. It’s a mistake to equate small towns with leniency or shoddy police work. Often, it’s quite the opposite.

Central PA Courts are Tougher Too

Central PA courts have an almost inherent distrust of “foreigners” entering their town and causing disruptions. After all, visitors and concerts are essential to their local economy. Their focus regarding criminal behavior related to these events is protecting their community’s reputation and their investment. You’re not only up against the law but also local sentiment.

The Best Way to Beat Charges in Hersey, PA

While the town might be famed for its chocolate and entertainment, it’s no joke when it comes to criminal charges. Offenses that would almost always result in probation or ARD in Philadelphia may be harder to achieve from a Dauphin County prosecutor. The best defense doesn’t just lie in understanding the charges but in navigating the local legal intricacies.

For anyone arrested in unfamiliar territory like Dauphin County/Derry Township after a concert, consulting with an experienced attorney who understands the local system is crucial.

Trust Statewide Experience & Local Reputation

Suppose you or a loved one recently attended a show at Hersheypark Stadium, the GIANT Center, or Hershey Theatre from Philadelphia, only to be arrested. You are probably frustrated and maybe a little scared. You know you must handle the situation delicately and effectively, but how?

You may first consider hiring a local Hershey attorney. However, given the practical limitations of living elsewhere, the best approach may be to mix proximity, local respect, and proven ability.

Fineman Defense is based in Philadelphia, with convenient suburban offices in Bucks County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County. Michael H. Fienman has traveled to the Dauphin County/Derry Township area numerous times for serious and high-profile cases in his work as a statewide Pennsylvania defense attorney. Attorney Fienman has worked with Derry Township officers, including their Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), and developed a good working relationship with the prosecutor’s office and local judges.

While many out-of-county lawyers face skepticism, attorney Fienman is seen as one they respect. This translates to better advocacy for you. Working with a Philadelphia-area lawyer with a Central PA network lets you avoid unnecessary trips to Harrisburg or navigating the complex maze of local attorneys.

Call Fienman Defense for a Free Consult

Attending a concert in Hersey should be fun, but acting fast and securing a lawyer is crucial if things go south. If you’re facing charges in Hershey, remember – Central PA doesn’t take kindly to outsiders. But they do respect and respond to solid, reputable legal advocacy. So, put attorney Fienman’s experience to work for you.

Call (215) 839-9529 for a free, confidential case assessment. We’ll review what happened, your options, and how Michael can help.

Attorney Michael H. Fienman represents clients in criminal and traffic matters throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Mr. Fienman has completed the same DWI detection training as most law enforcement officers, and he holds a certificate in Standardized Field Sobriety Testing approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Mr. Fienman has also completed an advanced DUI Trial Skills course covering ARIDE and DRE Protocols. As an experienced trial attorney, he is a zealous advocate known for relentlessly defending clients in state court, federal court, and before administrative agencies.

Attorney Fienman is licensed to practice before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court of New Jersey, the US District Court for the District of New Jersey, and the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

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