We do have a lot of young people, we have a lot of colleges, we have great areas Downtown that are open until wee hours of the morning. In college towns you are going to see people getting altercations, usually there is alcohol involved. We have a lot of concerts in the area and we handle urination in public places and assault cases and assault with a deadly weapon cases.
You might be drinking alcohol in a parking lot and you’re cooler and you’re under age and you’ll get approached by local law enforcement officers and that happens quite typically. What we are trying to do is resolve those cases. If that person lives elsewhere, we don’t want them to miss school and other things so we try to handle those by waiver. If we can, we try to resolve them so that they don’t have to make a lot of court appearances but what happens is, they could just pay it off but if they do, then they will have a criminal record because they did not know what they know now.
They didn’t know that once they paid it off, that they plead guilty to it and that’s not something they find out until later on so I get a lot of calls from people that go, well I did not know that when I paid it off, I would be pleading guilty to it and it would now be on my permanent criminal record.
There is a lot of calls that I get like that because they didn’t seek legal advice and why not call? It’s a free consultation. Why not call my office so that at least you are informed and you know what is going to happen.
Generally they will call and a lot of times we want to get a guardian or parent involved. Sometimes we don’t, it just depends on a particular situation and the age and maturity of the person that is calling but we want to make sure that all involved understand all the options.
With a person that age, you know obviously you don’t want them to go to jail, you don’t want them to be on supervised probation and you want to fashion something where the rest of their life is not affected by one bad mistake or one bad choice, especially the younger people when they are away from home for the first time. Things might happen, alcohol possessions we see a lot of, under age alcohol possession, sometimes DWI’s, just different things that happen and we want to make sure that the parents are involved if they need to be and that we find ways to resolve the case so that they are not permanently affected by it.