Your Legal Rights on the Scene
If you have attended events and festivals in NSW over recent years, you have probably noticed a significant police presence, often accompanied by sniffer dogs looking for people carrying drugs. If you are stopped and searched by police, it is important to know your rights and what police can and can’t do.
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The police have the power to search for drugs using sniffer dogs in or around any area where alcohol is sold; where patrons enter or exit a public event like a sporting event, concert, dance party or parade; and on public transport, in a station or at a bus stop.
The police must ensure that the sniffer dog is under control and that the dog does not unnecessarily touch you during the search.
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It’s important for you to know the risks before you head out to party. Mardi Gras’s event policy makes it clear that drugs should not be consumed at their parties and that guests will be asked to leave if they are drunk or out of it.
If you have been given an on-the-spot fine (penalty notice), don’t ignore it. Failure to pay fines can have serious consequences, including recovery action by the State Debt Recovery Office, having a drivers licence suspended or some other conditions placed on it.
If you want to go to court to defend the matter, you should get legal advice.
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Generally, you can film or photograph police performing their duties in public.
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