As Victoria’s 2012 school leavers prepare to hang up their school uniforms forever, parents have been urged to remind them of the potential legal ramifications of Schoolies Week shenanigans.
Slater and Gordon criminal lawyer Kirstie Grigor said, while it was inevitable that some Schoolies would experience a brush with the law, this could be avoided if they received a timely lesson in the responsibilities of adult life.
“Schoolies Week is a very exciting stage in a young person’s life but, if they are not careful, they can make regrettable decisions that have the potential to follow them right through their adult lives and can affect their careers or even their future travel plans,” Ms Grigor said.
She said police traditionally deployed large numbers of officers to monitor behaviour in Victoria’s Schoolies hotspots, including Phillip Island, Lorne, Torquay and Portsea/Sorrento.
“For many school leavers, Schoolies Week is their first opportunity to blow off steam as 18-year old adults and they need to know that a criminal conviction recorded as an adult can stay on their record for the rest of their lives,” Ms Grigor said.
She said a criminal record was often a barrier to getting a job and could also impact on applications for a visa to stay or work overseas.
“Given the added police focus on Schoolies hotspots, it is vital that Schoolies keep their revelry in check and ensure they abide by the law,” Ms Grigor said.
Some important information that school leavers should be aware of:
- It’s an offence to purchase alcohol if you’re under the age of 18 or buy alcohol for someone else who is underage.
- You cannot use the consumption of alcohol, drunkenness, or ignorance of the law as a defence to a crime.
- Drinking in public places is an offence regardless of whether you are an adult or a juvenile.
- 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 ID.
- Possession of any drug listed in the Drugs Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 without lawful excuse is a criminal offence. This includes possession of marijuana, amphetamines, steroids and prescription drugs such asRohypnol (or similar relaxant medications) if you are not the holder of a prescription for the drug. Possession means having a drug on you or in a house or in a car that you ‘control’.
- P-Plate drivers are not permitted to have any alcohol in their blood when driving or in charge of a motor vehicle in any publicplace or anywhere encompassed by the legal definition of a road.
- 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.
- Thoughtless destruction of public or private property, including graffiti, is treated by the criminal law as wilful damage.
- If you assist someone commit a crime, either before, during, or after a criminal activity, you can be charged with the same offence or offences as the main perpetrator.