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Schoolies Week – the annual celebration of the end of school – is among us again, with thousands of year 12 graduates converging on beaches and communities across the country and overseas.

While we encourage everyone to have some fun (and at the risk of sounding like the fun police) there is of course the potential risk of misbehaving and the impact that a possible criminal conviction could have on future employment or membership to an organisation.

Sometimes, youthful enthusiasm and inexperience can lead to run-ins with the law, and can result in convictions for criminal offences.

School leavers who want to take a gap year to travel overseas should also be mindful of the fact that criminal convictions can also impact badly on a person applying for a visa to stay or work in another country.

Of course it’s a time for fun and celebration, but there is nothing worse than a night that turns into a nightmare that will impact on a young person for the rest of their lives.

The key to having an enjoyable time is to exercise a little foresight and common sense.

Important information for schoolies

Firstly, it’s important to remember that when it comes to criminal convictions, the person will be charged under the laws of the State in which the offence occurs, and not the State of residence.

  • In some States such as Queensland, a 17 year old is seen as an adult in the eyes of the law and will be treated that way.
  • You cannot use the consumption of alcohol, drunkenness, or ignorance of the law as a defence to a crime.
  • Offenses such as urinating in a public place or using offensive language/behaviour could see you arrested and charged.
  • Malicious or thoughtless damage or destruction of public or private property and graffiti are criminal offences.
  • The making, obtaining, supplying, or using of false identification can attract a range of charges that also apply to anyone who assists a person in obtaining false I.D.
  • Obtaining or supplying alcohol to a person under 18 is an offence.
  • P-Plate drivers are not permitted to have any alcohol in their blood when driving or in charge of a motor vehicle in any public place or anywhere encompassed by the legal definition of a road.
  • The back seat passenger in an unlawfully used motor vehicle can be charged and receive the same sentence as the driver.
  • The driver of an unregistered vehicle is personally liable for injuries, damage and legal costs for people injured and property damaged by the driver’s negligence.

Travelling overseas for schoolies?

Make sure you are familiar with the local laws as charges and penalties can be vastly different to Australia. It is also important to check your travel insurance policy – most policies will not cover you if you contribute to your accident or injury by being drunk or otherwise intoxicated. Extreme sports such as rock climbing, hand gliding, mountaineering or some forms of scuba diving are also often not covered.

The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.

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