We hope you find this post educational, but it is definitely not legal advice and should not be construed as such.
In a recent Beats 1 interview, rapper Lil Yachty explains how getting arrested inspired him to “take charge” of his life.
“I used to have visions of flashing lights and red carpets… I know when I got the moment to take charge, [was] when I got arrested.”
The self-professed “king of the teens” was arrested for credit card fraud soon after turning 18. And with that, joined the biggest club that no one wants to join: The unofficial “been arrested” club.
This points us to look at a noteworthy statistic: By age 23 nearly one in three Americans will have been arrested.
The phenomenon we call “young and dumb” doesn’t come by accident. Being young, we sometimes think we know everything about the way the world works but we don’t.
Being young, we think that…
- An alcohol-infused college party brings no repercussions.
- A fake ID is harmless because all the “cool” kids have one.
- Giving classmates pot brownies as a prank won’t put you in the back of a cop car.
- Downloading music illegally is perfectly acceptable.
- Graffiti isn’t a crime. It’s art.
- Being drunk in public is a great photo op for your friends.
All your justifications are wrong
All these things mentioned above CAN GET YOU ARRESTED! Just some of the commonly dumb ways college students get themselves locked in a jail cell.
Now let’s *pretend* you were arrested for doing something stupid which you instantly regretted. You’re let out of jail and feel the instant gratification of freedom – but then you get back to thinking and realize everything feels different.
It sinks in.
I have a… criminal… charge… on… my… record…
It’s almost too hard to swallow. Now what? Am I supposed to get a lawyer? Will life be the same? What’s in store for my precious future?
Dealing with life after your “dumb” arrest
Don’t worry. As you read above, it’s common to get arrested for making a dumb decision. But there are some things you need to know and take care of – like a responsible adult.
1. You might need a lawyer
A lawyer can help defend you and possibly lessen the impact of an arrest. Since we’re talking about getting arrested for something minor, needing a lawyer may or may not be a necessity. You should do your research though and decide what’s going to be best for your situation. You might just be required to show up to court, which leads us to…
2. Show up to your court date
If you were arrested on misdemeanor charges (aka, a minor offense), and didn’t make bail or post a bond, you were likely released on your “own recognizance,” or “O.R.” This means you promise to appear in court to handle what you were arrested for. Showing up to your court date, or having a lawyer go for you, is imperative. Failing to show up to court will result in you being subject to immediate arrest.
3. Your conviction is now public record
A misdemeanor will be on your public record for life, unless you get it expunged. Expungement means you can get an arrest erased from your record; however, it’s an extensive process, there are requirements to meet, and success depends on the rules of the jurisdiction in which you live. Even if your dumb arrest is on your record forever, at least you’ve got a story (or more like lesson) to share.
If all this information is making you anxious to be an adult already, don’t sweat. Going through that experience can feel like a setback, or you can see it like Lil Yachty saw it: An opportunity to “take charge” of your life. Better things might be on the horizon because of that stupid arrest.
Think positively, take a hold of the wheel and… try not to make any more dumb mistakes that get you arrested.