Since 1999, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival – now commonly known as "Coachella" or the "Coachella Festival" – has grown to be one of the most recognized and anticipated music festivals in the nation. It has also come to be known as a hotbed of very aggressive police activity and sees a large number of arrests every year. Many Coachella arrests are for public intoxication, driving under the influence and the unlawful use of handicap placards. Local law enforcement also run undercover stings targeting concert goers for arrest for drug possession and sales. Most simple possession offenses are now misdemeanors, but furnishing drugs remains a felony, and every year undercover police solicit dozens of hand-to-hand sales, followed by felony arrests.
All criminal cases from the Coachella Music Festival are heard in the Superior Court in Indio, California. Attorney Rhea has defended cases in Indio since 2004, first as a public defender and then in private practice. He has had many cases dismissed because of illegal searches. This is something actually peculiar to Coachella: because there are so many arrests, the police often become overaggressive and daily to comply to Fourth and Fifth Amendment requirements.
CALL (760) 870-1052 IF ARRESTED
In 2019, nearly 100 people were arrested during the first weekend of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Eighty-six of the 99 arrests were for drug- and alcohol-related offenses.
Despite major changes in California drug law, well over 100 arrests have been at the Coachella Music Festival in Indio every single year since 2012. The majority of all of these arrests were drug- and/or alcohol-related. Law enforcement is onsite, often undercover, searching for fake IDs, drug possession, drug sales and the unlawful use of handicap placards.
The Law Office of Joseph T. Rhea is located in downtown Palm Springs and provides outstanding criminal defense representation for visitors, tourists, Indio residents and Coachella attendees. Coachella Festival criminal defense attorney Joseph T. Rhea knows what law enforcement does at the Coachella Festival every year (including entrapment) and will work hard to protect you in court. If you or someone you know has been arrested at the Coachella Festival, call now at (760) 870-1052 for local and experienced defense representation. Attorney Rhea has over a decade of experience in the local courts and his practice is devoted exclusively to criminal and DUI defense.
Individuals with professional licenses (doctors, lawyers, nurses, commercial airline pilots and so on) need to be particularly careful with a Coachella arrest. Although PC1000 is a common way to resolve a possession case, be aware that professional licensing agencies may treat a diversion as substantively proven criminal conduct for the purpose of professional licensure. If you are visiting from out of state, it may also be advisable to consult with a local attorney regarding licensing.
If you are not a U.S. citizen, please be aware that a PC1000 diversion of a drug case could make you excludable from the United States. Every year, foreign tourists come to the Coachella Music Festival, get arrested for drug possession, and then agree to a "diversion" deal on their criminal case. This sounds like a great deal: take a class and get your case dismissed.
However, it is a very serious matter if you are not a U.S. citizen. Homeland Security could exclude you from the United States based on a diversion agreement. So, if you have been arrested for drugs, and you are not a U.S. citizen -- slow down, your case may be very serious because of the immigration consequences. This is a case in which you will definitely benefit from the counsel of an experienced local criminal attorney and an immigration lawyer. Palm Springs Lawyer Rhea regularly consults with immigration lawyers on these cases.
Planning to attend Coachella 2020? Educate yourself on how to avoid any run-ins with the law. Law enforcement will be on the lookout for intoxication and illegal substance abuse.
The Law Office of Joseph T. Rhea recommends that you take the following precautions to avoid an arrest:
“Mr. Rhea was extremely knowledgeable which, without a doubt, was the reason the Judge dismissed my case without any fines, probation, etc. Additionally, his vast knowledge helped lay out all the scenarios which helped relieve my anxieties. He was extremely prompt and reliable which made working with him a pleasure. I would highly recommend Mr. Rhea’s services to anyone and everyone.” – Former Federal Drug Possession Client