Navigating Law Enforcement at Burning Man - What You Need to Know

Navigating Law Enforcement at Burning Man - What You Need to Know

The Playa Store saves you time by delivering all the essential items you need for Burning Man, in a few clicks. Skip the research and prepping, just buy and go at theplayastore.com.

Serious crimes are rare at Burning Man. But it's important to know your rights if you encounter law enforcement

Hey there, intrepid Burners! As you gear up for the wild and transformative adventure that is Burning Man, don't forget to pack your essential survival items from our store. From sturdy goggles to protect your eyes from the swirling dust to hydration packs to keep you going strong in the Black Rock Desert heat, we've got you covered.

But there's one more crucial thing to keep in mind as you prepare for your journey to Black Rock City: navigating potential encounters with law enforcement. Below are some tips from Lawyers for Burners.

Exercise extreme caution when entering the event and driving on Gate Road

In general, your vehicle cannot be searched without your consent, unless law enforcement has probable cause.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Pershing County Sheriff's Office have been known to use minor traffic infractions, such as driving slightly over the 10 mph speed limit or having an "obstructed" rear license plate, as a pretext to stop vehicles and search for drugs.

They often have drug dogs nearby that may "alert" to the presence of drugs, which can then be used as probable cause to search your vehicle.

If drugs are found, you could face a $530 citation from the BLM or even arrest by the Sheriff's Office for drug trafficking under state law.

Do not consent to searches

If you find yourself in this situation, remain polite but remember that you're not obligated to consent to searches or interrogations.

Beware of undercover officers

Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen has taken a more aggressive approach to law enforcement at the event since his election in 2014.

Many Burners have reported suspicious encounters with undercover officers attempting to bait them into selling or sharing drugs.

These experiences serve as a reminder to stay vigilant and exercise caution when interacting with strangers at the event.

And did you know these enforcement costs are paid for by Burning Man? According to Lawyers for Burners, "Burning Man paid BLM $2,717,129 in 2019 just for [the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM)]’s law enforcement labor costs.  (This was in addition to the approximately $240,000 that Burning Man paid to Pershing County, most of which went to the Sheriff’s law enforcement staffing).  BLM also charges Burning Man for all of the vendors providing equipment and support services for its law enforcement operation. BLM’s support and IT personnel and equipment add millions of dollars in costs that Burning Man must pay every year."

Contact Lawyers for Burners for free legal assistance

Lawyers for Burners provides free legal information and assistance to Burning Man attendees who face arrests, citations, or other legal issues resulting from encounters with law enforcement at the event. See their latest update and contact details, here: https://sites.google.com/site/lawyersforburners/

And of course, don't forget to stock up on all your playa essentials at our store – because a prepared Burner is a happy Burner!

The Playa Store saves you time by delivering all the essential items you need for Burning Man, in a few clicks. Skip the research and prepping, just buy and go at theplayastore.com.

THIS INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL REPRESENTATION. THIS IS LEGAL INFORMATION, NOT LEGAL ADVICE, WHICH IS AN INTERPRETATION OF THE APPLICABLE LAW TO SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES. THE PLAYA STORE HAS NO AFFILIATION WITH LAWYERS FOR BURNERS. WE URGE YOU TO CONSULT A LAWYER FOR LEGAL ADVICE OR REPRESENTATION ABOUT A PARTICULAR LEGAL QUESTION OR ISSUE YOU MAY HAVE. 
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