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Thinking About Drinking At The Republican Convention?

Following the miraculous victory of the Cleveland Cavaliers, anyone who found themselves celebrating in Northeast Ohio witnessed something not seen in fifty-two years, a championship. Following game seven, and especially during the victory parade, the people of Cleveland could be found not only celebrating in the local bars, but also on the streets. Even with the presence of police it was not uncommon for these Cavs fans to enjoy their alcoholic beverage in the streets. Despite the apparent acceptance of this behavior at the time, normally such behavior is illegal. And with the Republican National Convention upcoming it is important to understand what type of behavior conforms with the law.

Ohio Revised Code § 4301.62 (B) states no person shall “have in the person’s possession an opened container of beer or intoxicating liquor” in a public place, unless specifically allowed by the Ohio Revised Code. This means that this coming summer it will again be illegal to possess an open container while outside the confines of an establishment that is licensed to sell liquor. It is important to realize that while the enforcement of this law was lax in the wake of Cleveland’s championship, this will no longer be the case.

This is not to say that it is impossible to enjoy a celebratory drink during the Republican National Convention outside the confines of a bar, just that it must be done in accordance with the law. For example, it is permissible to enjoy beer or intoxicating liquor during a licensed tasting event. More relevant to the Republican National Convention that is upcoming this July, an individual may legally consume beer or intoxicating liquor “on the premises of a convention facility as provided in section 4303.201 of the Revised Code.” O.R.C. § 4302.62.

Ohio Revised Code § 4303.201 defines a convention facility as “any structure owned or leased by a municipal corporation or county which was expressly designed and constructed and is currently used for the purpose of presenting conventions, public meetings, and exhibitions.” In order for such a facility to obtain the requisite permit the facility must satisfy all of the following requirements. First, the organization utilizing the facility must qualify as a nonprofit organization as defined by Ohio Revised Code § 4303.201 (A)(2). Second, the nonprofit organization’s membership must include persons residing in two or more states, and the total membership must be in excess of five hundred (500) individuals. Third, the managing official of the convention facility must have provided the organization requesting a permit with written consent to use the convention facility. So if you find yourself at an event during this summer’s convention before you enjoy a drink outside the confines of a bar, ask yourself, would doing so be proper under the law?

If you find yourself facing criminal charges involving the consumption of alcohol, contact our office for help!

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