It might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but now you’re standing in line with thousands of other anxious festival goers with illegal drugs hidden in your shoe and a security guard just found your stash. What’s going to happen next? Will you just be one of the many EDC Arrests made every year at the event?
First of all, you are definitely not alone. The Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas is a huge event and there are several arrests made at this multi-day music festival every year. While this definitely doesn’t make getting busted a good thing to happen to you or to any friends you might be attending with, it also might help to know that it probably isn’t the end of the world. Each Year we have been defending those accused of various crimes at EDC. (See our blog for 2015 here and 2016 here.)
If you’re new to the festival or looking for information to assist someone you know who was arrested while in attendance, here’s a little bit of information about the event itself and what to expect.
What is the Electric Daisy Carnival?
Initially begun in the early 90’s as a one day rave in a field in Los Angeles, California, The Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) has grown and changed dramatically from that humble beginning into a huge, three-day electronic dance music festival experience. At present, EDC festivals are held in several locations around the world, but the flagship festival has taken place in Las Vegas, Nevada since the year 2011, most often being held at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The festival features an eclectic and impressive mixture of lights, music, elaborately lit stages, carnival rides and games, performers, fireworks and much, much more. The Electric Daisy Carnival is owned and operated by the Los Angeles-based company, Insomniac Productions, whose CEO and founder, Pasquale Rotella resides in Las Vegas.
The media in Las Vegas puts a lot of focus on the number of drug-related arrests that take place at EDC every year, which makes for compelling news but is not actually very representative of the festival overall. Considering the huge attendance that the festival sees each year, the number of EDC arrests is not as alarming as it sounds when those numbers are singled out in a news report.
For example, after last year’s event in 2016, the following numbers were released by the Las Vegas police:
● 101 drug-related felony charge arrests were made overall, with 40 of those arrests taking place on the last day of the event, setting a record number of arrests in a single day for the event.
● 18 misdemeanor citations
● 5 arrests for misdemeanor offenses
● 111 attendees were ejected from the event over the course of the weekend for various reasons that were not specified
Considering that the total attendance of the three-day event was over 400,000 people, these numbers seem a little less shocking. However, because drug use is considered to be a concern at EDC, it is not taken lightly by either the festival’s organizers or the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD).
Drug Prevention Procedures At The Electric Daisy Carnival
The festival organizers make an effort to control the possession, use or sale of illegal narcotics within the festival grounds in a number of different ways. First and foremost, there will be a combination of event-specific security guards and Las Vegas police officers who will be stationed at the entrances to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway at which EDC is held. They will be performing random, thorough TSA-style searches of ticket-holding attendees as they enter the event.
No Tolerance Policy
The drug that officers and security are most on the lookout for at EDC is MDMA, known more commonly as Ecstasy or Molly, which has been found to be a contributing factor or primary cause responsible for a few deaths that have occurred at the festival over the last several years – the most recent occurring at the 2015 event in Las Vegas.
While MDMA may be one focus of law enforcement at the event, it should also be clear to anyone planning to attend that no illegal substances will be admitted into the festival if found.
What Happens If You Are Caught With An Illegal Substance At EDC?
If you are found to have any illegal substances on you during a search prior to entering the festival, it will be confiscated from you. Depending on the type and amount of the substance, there is a possibility that once it’s confiscated, you will be granted some leniency and be let into the festival anyway – but do not count on this outcome if you decide to attempt to smuggle any illegal substance in. In most cases, attendees found to be in possession of illegal drugs will be turned over to an LVMPD officer and taken to their onsite center for processing and the determination of a criminal charge.
If you are given a misdemeanor charge, it’s most likely that you will receive a citation and be ejected from the festival. For more serious offenses, such as a drug-related felony charge, you will be placed in a holding area and eventually taken to jail.
Undercover Police Officers Working Inside the Festival
Once inside the festival, attendees should be aware that law enforcement also places undercover officers within the event to keep an eye out for drug possession, use or drug-related transactions. If you are found to be in possession of drugs, you may face a felony charge. If the quantity of drugs on your person is large enough, you could even face prosecution for trafficking in a controlled substance, which comes with mandatory prison time from 1, 5 or 10 years minimum, depending on the amount of the drug in your possession.
Respect the Rules of the Festival
It is our advice to anyone planning to attend EDC to follow the rules and guidelines set for the festival and remember that it is in your best interest to behave responsibly and safely in all regards while in attendance.
If you’ve been arrested at the Electric Daisy Carnival and are in need of an attorney, you’ve come to the right place – and you certainly won’t be the first client we’ve assisted following an arrest at the festival. We offer a free consultation and will be happy to discuss the details of your case with you. We feel we can offer our clients in this situation the combined experience and insight we’ve gained from handling cases similar to theirs since the festival found its new home in Las Vegas in 2011. Contact our office today to find out how we can help you.