State College prepares for State Patty’s Day

February 18, 2013


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – State College Police and local court officials are ratcheting up the ongoing town-and-gown efforts to curtail the high-risk drinking and damage that transpires on a social-media generated event referred to as "State Patty’s Day."

Over the weekend of Feb. 22 and 23, officers will be issuing citations and fines, not warnings, to anyone who violates the law in the borough. Police plan to request that maximum fines be levied against offenders. The fine for a first offense for both underage drinking and public drunkenness is $500 per offense -- up from $300 -- and $1,000 for any subsequent offense. Certain violators (where allowed by law) may be taken directly and immediately before the court for processing.

A magisterial district judge will be on-call all weekend. Individuals who have been arrested without a warrant will be arraigned or held for collateral via video from the central booking center at the Centre County Correctional Facility in Bellefonte. Anyone found guilty and required to post collateral or anyone who is incapable of posting bail will be held in jail until the required fine or bail money is obtained.

The court official also has the option to impose a prison term of one or more days against anyone found guilty. Without exception, violators will be charged a court cost, which is approximately $140, for any citation. A list of common violations and their maximum fines are below.

"We have tried so many strategies since this event started in 2007, without a large impact,” said Tom King, State College Borough police chief. “From our arrest data of the past couple of years, we know that about two-thirds of all criminal violations are committed by people from outside Centre County and not students at the University Park campus. These 36 hours, which go from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Sunday -- are our busiest 36 hours of criminal activity for the year. That's busier than home football game weekends, Arts Festival weekend and any other time."

The decision to seek maximum fines and impose immediate arraignments is part of a larger, more encompassing strategy to deter participation in State Patty’s Day, a potentially destructive drinking event that began six years ago. Officials insist there will be strict enforcement of all borough and state laws, including an increased law enforcement presence. The combination of efforts -- Interfraternity Council's ban on hosted parties, the closure of some downtown State College bars and University residence halls limiting the number of guests to one per room -- is expected to free up police to deploy to the downtown area, apartment buildings and adjacent neighborhoods.

"I am confident that with the implementation of a number of strategies, including maximum fines and/or an instant court, we can end this event," said King.

Description and maximum fines include (as defined by the Pennsylvania Crimes Code and the State College Borough Codification of Ordinances):

Public drunkenness: Appearing in any public place manifestly under the influence of alcohol to the degree that (he) may endanger (himself) or other persons or property, or annoy persons in (his) vicinity. Maximum fine: $500 for first offense, and $1,000 for second and subsequent offenses.

Urinating in public (Borough Ordinance): Urinating or defecating on any public right-of-way or any private property within view of public right-of-way. Maximum fine: $600

Underage drinking: Persons under the age of 21 found to be drinking alcohol, buying, alcohol, attempting to buy alcohol, possessing alcohol or knowingly transporting alcohol. Maximum fine: $500 for first offense plus a 90-day driver's license suspension; and $1,000 for second and subsequent offenses plus a one-year driver's license suspension.

Carrying an open container of an alcoholic beverage (borough ordinance): Possession of an open container of alcoholic beverage regardless of age on any public street, sidewalk, parking garage, parking lot or park. Maximum fine: $600

Providing alcohol to minors: Intentionally or knowingly selling, furnishing, purchasing with the intent to furnish, any liquor, malt or brewed beverage to anyone under the age of 21. Maximum fine: $1,000 and as much as one year in jail

Noise Control Ordinance (borough ordinance): Unlawful to make or cause to be made unreasonable noise that can be heard beyond the property boundary of the source of the noise. Maximum fine: $1,000

Disorderly conduct: Engaging in fighting or threatening, or in violent, tumultuous behavior; making unreasonable noise; using obscene language or making obscene gestures or creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act which serves no legitimate purpose of the actor. Maximum fine: $300

Vandalism: Intentionally and maliciously destroying property of another. Maximum fine: $300 plus restitution to repair damage.

Last Updated February 19, 2013