It’s bigger than Snapchat. More popular than Instagram. It’s Pokémon Go and this week Connecticut State Police even issued a press release telling players how to stay safe and out of trouble while playing the search-and-rescue smartphone game…
Pokémon Go is a free app available on any iPhone or Android device that works in combination with your smartphone’s camera. For veteran gamers, the Pokémon game has changed completely. Players are now entering a virtual world that incorporates real world geography to assist players in searching in real time to find and capture the hundreds of Pokémon characters.
The popularity of the Pokémon Go game is staggering. So popular that Nintendo is in the process of releasing bracelets that will allow players to be notified when software updates in the game are available. In the meantime, we must deal with the obvious (and not so obvious) dangers and, in rare occasions, legal risks associated with looking down at your smartphone while playing the game on foot or in a car.
Surprising to top criminal lawyers in Stamford, Greenwich and elsewhere in Connecticut, the risks of playing Pokémon Go are palpable enough that the Connecticut State Police issued a press release this week advising players—adults, teenagers and children alike—how to stay safe and out of trouble while playing the game.
I’ll share a few of their Dos & Don’ts as well as a few more practical safety tips…
Tip 1: Don’t go Pokémon Go hunting in the middle of Connecticut city streets. The best Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys know that Connecticut has a formal “jaywalking” law—Connecticut state law (CGS 14-300b) requires pedestrians to only cross roadways in marked crosswalks, unless otherwise authorized by a police officer. There’s even a “drunk or high” pedestrian law, CGS 14-300c, that forbids you from crossing a street—even in a crosswalk—while you’re under the influence of alcohol or under the influence of any recreational or prescription drug to a degree which renders you a hazard. Again, it’s an infraction, but it can still get you or your child ticketed for a fine, or summoned to court to fight the infraction charge. So if you have been invited to any of these Pokémon Go hunting parties, just make sure you’re not Pokémon hunting in city streets, and that you’re not hunting while under the influence. Go to a public park or trail reserve instead.
The primary concern that Connecticut State Troopers have—along with the top Stamford, Greenwich and Darien Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys—is that Pokémon Go players should never hunt and drive. They should not get arrested in Connecticut for Criminal Trespass, and they should not get too carried away with the game by fighting or crowding public spaces where the Pokémon. (Note: It’s hard to write this blog with a straight face, but hundreds of thousands of gamers are scurrying around town—I’ve seen it with my own eyes in Connecticut and New York).
Notwithstanding, here’s what the State Troopers have to say:
As a complete aside, some of the best Connecticut criminal law firms have been surprised to learn that some Pokémon Go players have been in the news for helping police catch an attempted murder suspect in California. And another story reports how local animal shelters in Indiana are asking Pokémon Go hunters to take local animal shelter dogs out for walks to assist them in hunting. Leave it to the millenials to go virtual hunting with real animals!
With the growing popularity of not just the Pokémon Go game, but also any smartphone application which incorporates camera technology into a game (cool stuff, no doubt), it will necessary follow that these games will require people to keep their eyeballs glued to their smartphones. And with that comes risks of distracted walking, driving and possible trespassing. So follow these tips and guidelines, keep safety and the laws in mind, and stay aware of your surroundings while playing!