We’ve sometimes got trouble, right here in Holmdel township, with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for the PNC Bank Art Center. This popular music venue in Holmdel has provided a venue for musical acts from symphonies to Sinatra to Springsteen to Phish to Sting over the years – but the festival environment has also spawned more than a little bit of trouble in the form of dozens of drug arrests, underage drinking, DUI arrests, fights, shootings.
If you’re a music fan who gets into trouble with a capital T, the first person you should talk to is Holmdel criminal defense attorney Tara Breslow-Testa. She is experienced with a capital E and can reduce possible sentences, fines and future consequences for anyone arrested around the PNC Bank Center.
Holmdel (means “pleasant valley” in Dutch) is a Monmouth County township of around 17,000 citizens located a few miles from the Jersey shore, and is also close to New York City. Some websites claim Springsteen was born in Holmdel – some say elsewhere. But in 1977, Bruce Springsteen moved up from Asbury Park to write and record much of the material that made it onto his album Darkness on the Edge of Town – which is now ranked at number 151 on Rolling Stone‘s 500 greatest albums of all time.
RENAMED PNC BANK ARTS CENTER
The Garden State Art Center – originally opened in 1968 – was renamed the PNC Bank Arts Center in 1996 – and reconfigured to evolve from classical music to popular music.
Since 1996, the expanded venue has been home to dozens of memorable performers and performances – some of them causing local and national controversy. James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, Bob Seger, Brian Wilson, The Spice Girls, The Jonas Brothers, The Allman Brothers Band have all performed at PNC Bank Art Center and some, like Glen Campbell, Dionne Warwick and Sting have recorded there.
PNC has also hosted musical festivals including the Vans Warped Tour, Lilith Fair, Ozzfest, Uproar Festival and many others.
A HISTORY OF ROWDINESS
Sometimes the music is mellow. Sometimes the crowd isn’t. In June of 2000, more than 70 audience members got a little too jammy and were arrested following performances by Phish – most of them for drug offenses ranging from marijuana to ecstasy to heroin.
The year 2007 was particularly rowdy at the PNC Bank center:
At a May, 2007 Gwen Stefani concert, two dozen minors were taken to area hospitals for alcohol-related illnesses. In the wake of this, local officials announced a “zero tolerance” ban on underage drinking, and brought in 60 – 80 New Jersey State Troopers to aid the usual security force of under 20 officers.
During an Ozzfest concert, there were 83 arrests for underage drinking, lewd behavior, distribution of drugs and providing alcohol to a minor. Two people died from cardiac arrest, most likely linked to drinking or drugs.
During the August WKTU Beatstock concert, there were 62 arrests, including 39 for underage drinking.
There were 53 arrests for underage drinking during a concert by Fray in June, and another 20 for underage drinking during a Fall Out Boy concert the same month.
Every year there have been incidents, at a variety of concerts, involving underage drinking, drug possession or use and worse: In August of 2015, two people were shot during a concert for J. Cole and Big Sean.
BETTER CALL TARA
Tara Breslow-Testa attended music concerts at PNC Bank Art Center back in the day. She knows the kind of shenanigans that go on there and managed not to get caught up in them: Which is why she was able to get into the University of Michigan for her B.A. and why she was admitted into law school at Rutgers, where she worked on the Innocence Project and at the Constitutional Litigation Clinic. Having clerked for the Honorable Donald J. Volkert, Jr., and served as an Assistant Deputy Public Defender in Union County and then trial court in Monmouth County, Tara Breslow-Testa has been on both sides of the bench, has seen a lot of scared juveniles and adults pulled into court for partying a little too hard, and is prepared to mount a defense to minimize the short term consequences and the long-term damage.
Kids will be kids, but the courts take underage drinking very seriously because of the risk of serious injury or death to the underage drinker – or those around them. New Jersey courts have seen endless cases of lives ruined and lost, and so underage drinking is a crime with public health, social and economic repercussions: medical costs, traffic accidents and fatalities, property and emotional damage. The state of New Jersey is in the Top 20 for underage drinking nationwide, and the courts are primed to be as lenient or hard as possible to deter underage drinking. Sentences for underage drinking include a maximum of six months in jail, a $1000 fine and a six month suspension or postponement of driver’s licenses. Underage drinking also goes on a criminal record which can create future problems with school and jobs. Juvenile defense and underage drinking attorney Tara Breslow-Testa has experience on both sides of the bench, and you want her by your side when facing a no-nonsense judge.
From rolling joints to snorting meth to shooting heroin, all levels of drug abuse take place at PNC Bank Art Center, and the crowd is seeded with plain-clothes State Troopers, security and other law enforcement on the lookout for this kind of illegal activity. Possession or selling drugs is a crime with levels of severity. Possession of less than 60 grams of marijuana is a Disorderly Persons Offense that is heard in Municipal Court, while possession or sale of methamphetamine, heroin or other Controlled Dangerous Substances is a felony. If you are arrested for a drug offense, you are in for an unpleasant time which can be smoothed considerably by the presence of an experienced attorney. Holmdel drug offense attorney Tara Breslow-Testa has many years of experience defending juveniles and adults accused of drug offenses.
Title 56 of the 2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes lay down the law for the sale and resale of concert tickets: “No person other than a registered ticket broker shall resell or purchase with the intent to resell a ticket for admission to a place of entertainment at a maximum premium in excess of 20% of the ticket price or $3.00, whichever is greater, plus lawful taxes. No registered ticket broker shall resell or purchase with the intent to resell a ticket for admission to a place of entertainment at a premium in excess of 50% of the price paid to acquire the ticket, plus lawful taxes.”
What that means to you is, the guy standing on the sidewalk trying to sell you for $200 a ticket with a $100 face value is breaking the law. If you are the person trying to “scalp” that ticket, you could be convicted of a fourth degree offense, with a penalty of up to 18 months in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
ASSAULT: SIMPLE AND AGGRAVATED
People drink at concerts, they take drugs, they let the music and the heat wind them up and sometimes they fight. There have been fights and shootings at the PNC Bank Art Center and if you are involved in one of these altercations, you could be guilty of anything from simple assault to aggravated assault to attempted murder. Even simple assault gets complicated in court, and it’s smart to have an experienced attorney stand between you and the criminal justice system.
Urinating in public, public lewdness, offensive language, open container and singing Springsteen songs off-key: You will find most of these disorderly behaviors in and around the PNC Art Center. If you are arrested for any of them, you will be tried in Municipal Court and face jail, fines, community service and the stain of a criminal record. The courts are sometimes packed with PNC Art Center offenders, and court officials get grumpy. Having an attorney by your side to smooth the process can result in these charges being mitigated or dropped – and save a tremendous amount of hassle and stress. Holmdel disorderly conduct attorney Tara Breslow-Testa has seen it all, and will see that you are treated fairly.
ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN
For the summer of 2017, the PNC Art Center is “on for young and old” as the Australians would say, hosting a wide variety of acts from Steve Miller Band with Peter Frampton to Zac Brown Band to The Moody Blues to John Mayer to Sublime. Anything can happen in the heat of a New Jersey summer with close to 20,000 music fans all thrown together. If you get caught up in the moment and the emotion and break a law, the first person you should talk to is Holmdel criminal defense attorney Tara Breslow-Testa.
Contact her at (732) 784-2880