Legal Consequences of Rushing the Field

Photo courtesy of
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By: Sarah Weikart, Staff Writer

Contemplating how to catch a glimpse of those ten seconds of fame by running on the playing field?

In light of a recent fan running on the field during the Pirates game at PNC Park, this article will discuss, what might essentially be a victimless crime, the risk you face when deciding to rush the field.  For those that are not aware, rushing the field “occurs when an individual or crowd of people who are watching a sports game run onto the playing area to celebrate or protest about an incident. “[1]

At minimum a person who runs the field will be ejected from the game and will not get reimbursed for their ticket. The Pirates website states that any fan interference face leads way to “immediate removal from PNC Park and criminal sanctions.” [2] But just how serious are the ramifications? Well, aside from being tackled by multiple security guards, your face getting buried in the turf and a knee in your back while getting handcuffed, criminal and civil matters are a likely occurrence. For example, in 2010, a Phillies fan decided to take the plunge by running across the field and was tasered by a stadium employee and then charged with criminal trespass. Additionally, another Phillies fan rushed the field just days after the stun gun incident and was charged with criminal mischief. [4]

Criminal trespass is the wrongful act of entering another’s property without permission and the property owner may sue a trespasser for damages in civil court and the trespass will be charged as criminal offense. Criminal trespass can range anywhere from up to 90 days in jail and fines to up to 7 years in prison and much larger fines. [3] Further, in Pennsylvania, a property owner has 2 years to bring a civil suit, which could include the cost of restoring the field, loss of use of the property, trespass for distress, or annoyance.

Criminal mischief is when a person intentionally or recklessly causes damage to the property of another or intentionally tampers with the property in a manner that threatens damage. This is a crime that can be punishable anywhere from up to 90 days in jail and fines to a $5,000 penalty and up to 7 years in prison depending on the property damage done to the field. [5]

Additionally, if an individual decides to go all out by not wearing proper clothing, in other words streaking, the penalties are worse. Public indecency is added to the list of charges can carries a sentence of up to two years in prison and/or fines and if you are a juvenile the sentence carries up to 5 years in prison. Since this is a sex crime, there is always a possibility of having to register as a sex offender on a state website. Thus, it would be strongly advised to wear clothing at all times. [6]

Furthermore, any criminal or civil offense can add up to a large amount of money and time. So, maybe before deciding to Rush the field and get noticed by 20,000 fans an individual should contemplate just how costly that run might be. Minor repercussions of that day will include getting a free ride to the jail in a cop car, getting fingerprinted, receiving your very own mug shot, and finally a jail cell while you wait for someone to post your bond. The long-term issues will include the money you will have to pay for representation, time out to attend court hearings, and the possible risk of current or future employment loss if convicted.

Fans charging onto a playing field or court might seem funny or fun at first, but those who attempt this rush usually find, in the end, it is neither.  So before making a decision to cross onto the playing field during a sporting event, evaluate the serious consequences one might endure in the aftermath of such delinquency.






[6] Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Title 18 § 3126

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