It sometimes seems like law enforcement has it in for high school and college students. Other people can get home from the bars without being pulled over. But if you have your school decal in the window, there are the spinning lights.
Students get arrested for a handful of offenses: DUI, underage drinking, fighting, minor sex offenses and petty theft. None of these are serious felonies, but each one is enough to affect your education and future.
In St. Charles County, there are plenty of ways to get into trouble that – even if the crimes are not serious – will mess up your life.
Three important things to remember, should you ever find yourself in trouble:
1. Call a lawyer NOW
We advise young people to carry the number of a lawyer you trust in your smartphone or glove compartment. (Our number at Weber Law Firm is 636-487-4139.) If possible, call your lawyer while the police are still spinning their lights behind you. The biggest mistake people make after getting arrested is going into shock and waiting several days to hire counsel. Your lawyer will want to go to work immediately, while the case is still warm, to protect your rights.
2. Don’t talk to the police
We get that you’re anxious, and that you think of you “cooperate,” things will go better for you. This is not how it works, however. People in law enforcement rely on suspects giving themselves away in conversation. They may seem like your best hope at a tough time. Our advice to you is to remain silent. Hire a lawyer who is experienced in this kind of charge. Let your lawyer do your talking.
3. Don’t plead guilty
Again, this business has made you sick with anxiety and shame. You probably were in the wrong, and being a good person, you want to accept blame for what happened. DON’T DO THIS. The consequences of a guilty plea will dog you for the rest of your life. You owe it to your family, to your future and to yourself to play the legal game and do what you can to avoid conviction, or – if conviction is inevitable – to minimize the harm that is done to you.
If you are a student in high school or you are enrolled at Lindenwood University, St. Charles County Community College or the University of Missouri-St. Louis – don’t freak out. Do call a lawyer who cares about your future and knows how to help.