When young people are arrested the parents always say: “Mr. Raybin….my child is a good kid.”
Please don’t call me up and say: “Mr. Raybin…he’s a good kid.” I’ll say, “Look, he is a kid that doesn’t understand consequences.”
Where do you start?
BEGIN WITH THE LAW.
THE LAW OF GRAVITY.
“MARY, what happens if you jump off the roof?”
“Well, Mr. Raybin, I’ll be killed.”
“No, Mary, nothing will happen to you because you are a good kid.”
Sounds silly doesn’t it?
Well what really happens is that the law of gravity doesn’t care about mitigation or that this is your first offense, or that you have good grades.
The higher up you are the worse is the injury…THAT is what I mean of when I speak of consequences.
Parents have got to STOP being an apologist for their kids.
But Mr. Raybin:
It’s not Steve’s fault, he is adopted.
Sally is bipolar.
I have to work and my wife doesn’t do a good job of raising Jennie.
It’s the police officer’s fault.
The judge hates Bobby.
Brad has a chemical imbalance.
It may sound that I am indifferent to these social and mental health issues. I am not. I have read the DSM cover to cover. I have a fleet of doctors on retainer.
What I am saying is that the Courts really don’t care WHY your kid acts weird; only that he or she does. The police and courts are like the law of gravity.
The insanity defense is only concerned with cognitive dysfunctions not volitional impairments.
In other words you might be acquitted if you didn’t know what you were doing; but I “couldn’t help myself is no excuse.”
If you do not impress consequences on your child they will never learn that the world imposes consequences. If they can’t comply with a curfew today how are they going to make it to work on time in the real world tomorrow?
Here are some tips you can convey to your child:
Go online. Get a college application. They all ask if you have been arrested. Show that to your child and say: “Tommy how will you fill out that in 4 years?” And don’t think that Mr. Raybin can fix it by getting your record expunged. Schools often ask about expunged charges.
“I didn’t know that!” Well it’s true.
If you learn a few self-defense techniques you can avoid embroiling yourself in the criminal justice system. You can stay out of the emergency room, or at least visit the hospital as an out-patient.
Let’s start with some basics.
- Have your license with you. I can’t tell you how many cases I have had where a student forgot about his or her license and ID and spent time in jail because he or she could not identify himself or herself.
- Get your tail-lights fixed on your car. I’ll bet you didn’t know that the police can stop you if you have a broken tail light. Why end up being “rolling probable cause”?
I have represented hundreds of students and have seen every possible way a student can mess up and wind up in jail. Let’s look at the numbers. The vast majority are charged with driving, weapons, alcohol or drug related crimes. This includes driving under the influence and crashing into people, cars and even houses.
Speaking of houses. Every year I have a student who gets drunk, goes home and finds the door locked and the key will not work. So the student breaks in and crawls into bed. You guessed it! Wrong house. Wrong bed. Makes for great conversation when you are later talking to the police.
Let’s say you get pulled over – what do you do?
- Stay in the car.
- Roll down the driver’s side window, turn on the interior light and keep your hands on the wheel.
- What do you say to the officer? Nothing. Until you are asked. You are there to answer questions not to ask them.
Always remember that the officer’s right hand is on her flashlight and her left hand is sitting on her pistol. Just remember she is probably just as scared of you as you are scared of her. If the officer is acting like a smart-ass it is because she is scared. You are scared but do not act like a smart-ass or things will only get worse.
A high percentage of my cases involve fake ID’s. Every few years there is a rash of cases involving a college student who decides that he or she wants to make a bunch of fake ID’s for other students. Fake ID’s do not involve just making them. Merely having a fake ID is against the law.
Do not let another drunk drive your car.
Even if you are sober you can still get arrested for DUI. As amazing as it sounds a person can be convicted and sent to jail for letting someone else use their car when they are drunk.
When you are drinking and driving be sure to wear your seatbelts.
You have a 25% higher risk of injury without seatbelts than with seatbelts. Of course you have at least a 30% greater risk of having a wreck while you are driving after drinking so go on and do the math and see how that works out.
It is VERY important to remember that the police often arrest EVERYBODY in the car when any drugs or alcohol are found.
But that’s not fair. “I didn’t know the guy had a 6 pack in the trunk.”
Folks, let me introduce you to the law of constructive possession. SO when you get into somebody else’s car be SURE it is clean!
As a general rule most of the DUI cases involve bar hopping where a person has been to several different drinking establishments. They usually get arrested after the second or third restaurant. Silly, but true.
I also need to tell you what will not save you when you indulge in ardent spirits: eating a lot, drinking a lot of coffee, drinking through a straw, not mixing your drinks or drinking with a lot of ice. Again, none of these things make a bit of difference. This is just a way of fooling yourself. Alcohol is alcohol and will be absorbed in your body no matter what else you have in your stomach.
Before we move off into something else let me remind you about drugs.
Drinking and taking drugs is the case of two plus two equaling six. Also remember that just because you have a prescription for a drug does not remove the possibility that you can be arrested for driving under the influence if you take more drugs than the doctor permits.
Remember that being arrested for DUI does not exclude sanctions that can be imposed against you by the school. The school can take all sorts of action against you for violating the criminal laws of this State. These usually are separate and do not directly translate into equal results. For example, I have had cases where folks got a reduced sentence on a criminal case but the school still imposed administrative sanctions on the student. Sounds like double jeopardy to me. Go tell the Dean.
An even bigger problem is where some student goes out and tries to buy drugs from some dealer on the street and ends up getting robbed or stabbed or shot. So only buy your drugs from unarmed drug dealers.
Now I want to talk about some really serious stuff. Every other year some student gets into a car and gets into a wreck and either the passenger is injured or some pedestrian is killed. Nothing will screw up your college career better than a vehicular homicide charge.
Ok. What’s left? Sex, of course. Girls, if you are drunk the probability of sex is MUCH higher. Boys that sounds GREAT doesn’t it!
WRONG! Get a girl drunk and when you wake up she going to say you took advantage of her. You want to be charged with rape? That is going to mess up Finals for sure.
So if you want to have sex with a drunken partner be sure to get a written waiver. I have forms at the office.
The issue is not good kids… rather what we need are good parents. ..Like You!