Your Central Coast Expert

Jan 31, 2013 6:55 PM

Ernst Law Group: What your teen needs to know when they turn 18

You are eighteen now, you're an adult but you're not twenty one. You can do everything, just about, except drink alcohol, legally.

You have the freedom to obtain a driver's license without parental consent, to marry without parental consent, to obtain medical treatment without parental consent, to join the military without parental consent. You no longer need the consent of anyone, because you are a legal adult.

A couple of things that you must remember that are most important to a young person.

If you are a male, at age eighteen, you still must register for the draft, it's the law. You can register for the draft online, at a post office, or at your school, but you must do it at age eighteen.

Before the age of eighteen, if you commit a crime, they take you to juvenile hall. After the age of eighteen, they take you to jail. When they take you to jail, you have to post bond, and you will stay in jail with everyone over the age of eighteen until you do, or you are released on your own recognizance. But the penalties that will be inflicted upon you for committing a crime are adult penalties, they are no longer juvenile court, your parents don't have to be called, you don't have a right to call your mom or your dad, you're in jail because you are a legal adult. It is part of the magic of responsibility.

I can't help talking to eighteen year olds without impressing upon them that today, sex among young consenting adults happens all the time. But remember, when you are eighteen, it is unlawful for you to have sex with a person under the age of eighteen, and if you do and you are caught, I need to tell you, it is called statutory rape. It doesn't make any difference if you are a female or a male, it is against the law. Please do yourself a favor, don't have sex with a person under the age of eighteen at all. Now, I know that that is difficult to say, but that is what you need to know as an adult, and you need to know that you heard it from a lawyer, because eventually the parents or the people in charge of the minor find out about that you're over the age of eighteen, you are the one that will be prosecuted for it.

At age eighteen, you have the right to fill out a credit card application and send it in, and they will send you a credit card if you qualify. If you do qualify and you get the card, all sort of responsibilities come about. If you use the card, you must pay the card every month or make a payment every month, but you need to know that if you don't pay that card off every month the balance begins to grow and you pay interest. Kids are often saying, "Well, if I just pay the minimum payment, I'll be okay." What they fail to understand is that as an adult, you've contracted to pay that debt, and that debt if it continues to grow it can be a smirch on your credit that will remain with you for at least seven to ten years, because computers don't forget. It will also influence your ability to buy property in the future.

This next segment is going to teach you what you need to know about being over the age of eighteen and consuming alcoholic beverages. I first need to tell you, rule number one, it's against the law, don't do it until you are twenty one. Now that I have said that, let's go through what happens if you choose to violate that rule and what could happen to you.

In California, if you are caught consuming alcohol at any location, at any place and you are under the age of twenty one you risk losing your driver's license for a year, that is the penalty. So if you are at a party, an officer sees you with a beer in your hand, and you're under the age of twenty one, if he writes you a ticket the penalty is not only probation and a fine, but you will lose your driver's license for a year. This is serious stuff, you want to make sure that if you choose to drink alcohol, you do it in the home of a parent, under supervision, and my recommendation is you don't do it until you are the age of twenty one, because I'm a lawyer and I follow the law.

At age eighteen you are responsible as an adult and you know you shouldn't text while driving, you shouldn't use your cell phone while driving, unless you have a hands free, voice activated or sound activated system. If you have a sound activated system, it's okay. If you don't, you are always looking down at your phone and it is a violation under the law, and it's a matter of time until you hit and wreck your car or hurt or injure someone else.

All of these things are critical things that you need to know. Hopefully this information has set the stage for more information about you that you need to know when you are age eighteen, check this website for individual information on all of the topics that we have talked about and more.

If you or a loved one have any questions, please fill out the form to the right of this article.

If you need help, please contact the firm at (800) 941-9930. It is free, and we can provide you with the knowledge you need to take care of you and your family.

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Ernst Law Group, ALC
1020 Palm Street

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

Phone: (800) 941-9930

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