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Pokémon Go! But maybe don't go there...warn police departments

Pokémon Go may be the best thing to arrive on your smartphone in years. It has got you running around town in search of Pokestops, virtual gyms, and the elusive Pokémon themselves. Your social media sites are flying at a mile a minute with tips, shared success, and the latest results from battles. You can't seem to put your phone down because one step farther into the produce section at the grocery store a Rhyhorn could be waiting.

However, not everybody is playing the game. Pokémon Go players are beginning to stumble into misadventures that have resulted in criminal charges against them, all in the name of harmless fun.

Trespassing is still a crime

Police departments in Florida and elsewhere are reminding players that Pokémon Go has not rewritten personal property laws overnight.

You need to remember some simple things when chasing the next Magikarp down an unfamiliar street to avoid being charged with trespassing.

  • Businesses have hours of operation. Respect the OPEN and CLOSED signs and locked gates. Security guards are instructed to call for help when they see somebody lurking in the bushes after hours, not confront a lost trainer.
  • Private homes are never open to the public. Look up from your phone before walking through somebody's front door. There might be a dog or startled homeowner with a weapon waiting to greet you.
  • Back rooms in stores are not available for your perusal. They are not hiding a Pokémon in the mountains of crates. The store manager is likely going to call the cops and report a burglary before trying to talk you down from your digital treasure hunt.
  • Construction Sites are closed for your protection, and are avidly guarded by the local police.

Driving while distracted is still dangerous

While driving down the street, you pull your phone out to check for a new Pokémon -- they have been reported to appear on steering wheels. However, using a digital device while operating a vehicle is illegal. Lock the phone in the glove compartment and keep your eyes on the road.

When the police complete the accident report if you collide with another car while catching Pokémon, they are probably going to cite you as at-fault and issue tickets or a summons for criminal negligence.

Even if you are not involved in an accident, patrol officers can see when you've got your head focused down not on the road ahead. Yeah, it is obvious. Yes, they can pull you over and cite you with a ticket.

"I Caught Pikachu" is not a defense

When in front of a judge to argue against the trespassing or negligence charge, stating that you were playing Pokémon Go and not paying attention is not going to get you off the hook.

The best way to avoid the wasted time, money, and charges is to play the game responsibly. Stop, look around, then grab the super-rare Diglett you have been hunting for days.

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