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Court Reflection Essay

Growing up and still till this day I love watching criminal shows on television, which have given me preconceived ideas about court. I expected to walk into an open concept room with two tables, one for the defendant and one for the prosecutor, a jury section, and a section for the common people. The television definitely persuaded me to only thinking that the courtroom looked a certain way. I came into court believing that the courtroom would look like a courtroom from the 1920s, consisting of wooden pews, a big witness stand and one wooden bench for the judge.

I visited Peachtree city municipal court on March 29th from eight until twelve and my perspective on court changed tremendously. Once I walked into the building I had to make sure my cell phone was turned off and I had to put all my belongings in a bucket to be put through a scanner to check for any items that were not allowed in court. I was a bit surprised by this because on television they do not show the security aspect of court and usually people such as, police officers or detectives will have their phones or items that the common people cannot.

I also had to walk through a metal detector before entering the courtroom, which startled me simply because I was not expecting it to be as serious as it was. Finding the courtroom was not as hard, as I expected, being that all of the officers were very helpful in helping me find my way. The courthouse was also a lot bigger than I thought it would be. When I walked into the courtroom there was the judge sitting on his raised bench and a foot down is where the defendants would stand. Surrounding the courtroom was approximately two hundred seats, which I thought to be a lot.

There were approximately one hundred young adults with their parents that day waiting to go in front of the judge. I did not expect there to be this many cases in one day all involved citations for Minor in possession of alcohol so, the number of people there was a shock. When entering court I was a little frightened being that there were a lot of officials at the door checking people in. Also, the defendants that were there for the day had to sign there rights away at a table once they walked through the metal detector before entering the court room, which seemed frightening to me if I were to have to do that as soon as I entered.

The energy in the courtroom made me feel anxious because there was so many officials either walking around or standing in the corner. I felt like I was being watched more than the defendants were which made me feel awkward even though the officers and the judge were extremely nice. Peachtree City Municipal court was a great place to experience justice being served to minors for possession of alcoholic beverages. I come from a divorced household and have one sister named Holly. Growing up I was always into sports, which continued into college.

I played soccer for Georgia Southwestern State University for one year before transferring to Kennesaw where I continue my passion for soccer by playing intermural sports. A lot of my teammates at my old school drank a lot and I was not into all of that. I saw a lot of my friends receive citations for minor in possession of alcohol and supported them throughout the whole situation. Some were worst than others being that some received probation, got kicked off the soccer team, or dropped out of school. Being that I was around this a lot I was inspired to choose a case that was a minor in possession of alcohol.

Sports would always keep me grounded by making sure I kept my grades up. I graduated high school in the top thirteen percent of my class with a 3. 7 grade point average. I consider myself to be a very open minded and accepting person who always gives one hundred and ten percent. My family has always struggled financially that has only pushed me to be motivated to do well in life. I have always had to sacrifice one thing for another, but this has only helped me strive into a mature individual before college.

I currently go to school and work a part time job at chicken salad chick. This constant juggling of school and work has allowed me to grow in my maturity level and come out of my comfort zone. People often hear how students get to college and dread the four to five years but for me I love school and will continue to receive a bachelors and masters degree. I consider myself to be self-motivated when it comes to school and some would classify me as an overachiever. I set goals for myself daily and I strive to reach every single one by the end of the night.

This has allowed me to be successful with my schooling and daily activities that do not involve school. A couple months back I received my citation for a minor in possession of alcohol I was hard on myself and felt disappointed. However, I strongly live by the quote said by Abby Wambach, “everyone makes mistakes and it is not what or why you did that mistake but how you go about fixing it and growing as a person. ” I believe that everyone deserves a second chance and that people truly do learn from his or her mistakes and that is what I did by going to see a court case before my own.

I went into Peachtree City Municipal Court to observe cases on young adults under the age of twenty-one who received a citation for minor in possession of alcohol, in order to gain more knowledge for myself and to gain more knowledge on why this is a common citation that young adults and college students receive. Binge drinking is a common activity that college students and even high school students partake it before being of age. The transition from children to adolescence is what causes one to feel the need for independence.

This topic interests me because people know right from wrong but what possesses them to go ahead and do it anyway? I am currently a psychology major here at Kennesaw State University maintaining a 3. 5 grade point average. My major has allowed me to learn about the different stages of development that we go through and why people may do certain things at different stages in there life. My goal after receiving a bachelors of Science in Psychology is to continue my education by earning masters in developmental psychology.

With this masters degree I plan to have the research portion of my career to focus on troubled young adults and why they are more prone to be under the influence before they are of age. This assignment has opened my eyes in the aspect that most people do not realize how serious a minor in possession charge is and what the consequences will be. Going into court I had no idea what the sentence would be for these young adults. I especially did not expect for the diversion program, which most of the defendants received, had so many requirements.

The diversion program consists of community service, random alcohol and drug tests, fees that have to be paid monthly, and counseling in order to prevent the person from committing the criminal offense again. While in court I was able to hear some of the defendant’s back-stories while they were waiting to talk to the solicitor. A lot of them said they did what they did because everyone else was doing it, or that they felt by drinking they would be in the “in crowd. ” It is very interesting to me as to why young teens and young adults are more prone to being under the influence before they are of age.

I hope to in the future learn what makes a person do what they do and why they may feel different ways while being under the influence. After sitting in court and listening to the judge and hearing some of the cases back stories all the reasons as to why these defendants did what they did makes since, but it still does not make it legal. Every single hearing that day received a sentence and not one minor in possession got its case thrown out. The sentences that the young adults received were fair and I personally believe that they all received good deals.

A minor in possession is a criminal offense that can have charges up to one thousand dollars; jail time, a suspended license, and this charge can stay on your criminal record. This particular day at court everyone who received a minor in possession was put into a diversion program and guaranteed they complete this program and pass the monthly drug tests the charges can be taken off of their record. In my opinion, this judge was completely fair by showing to these young adults that they have a second chance and it is up to them to change through this program.

One particular case stood out to me when I visited the Peachtree city municipal court. There was a young girl, who was nineteen years old that received a minor in possession of alcohol while riding on a golf cart. Once she entered the building she had to walk through the metal detector and sign her rights away before entering the courtroom. Once in the courtroom she waited for about an hour before talking to a solicitor about her citation. She had to leave the courtroom and go into a separate office when talking with the solicitor to decide if she would plea guilty or not guilty.

After she talked to her solicitor she reentered the courtroom where she waited the go in front of the judge, which took approximately forty-five minutes. Before being called in front of the judge she was called into a room in the back corner of the courtroom where she talked with a probation officer. Once she talked to the probation guy she sat in a different section of the courtroom that was sectioned off for defendants who received probation. She was put into a probation program that requires her to do hours of community service, meet monthly with a probation officer in which she has to pay a fee, participate in D. U. I school, and have frequent drug and alcohol tests.

I thought that her consequences for her actions were fair. I believe that justice was served and that the girl received a good amount of consequences for her actions. I do understand why she received what she did and it was probably best because she was on a moving vehicle. Even though she was not driving the vehicle I believe that by going to D. U. I School she will not only learn from her mistakes but learn from her friends as well.

This may prevent her from every driving a moving vehicle while under the influence especially before the age of twenty-one. Whenever she went in front of the judge he already knew what charge she was facing. Because of this she was not allowed to defend herself and was not granted any time to share her side of the story or her series of events that happened that night. One of the reasons she was not allowed to speak on her behalf was the absence of a lawyer. I believe by having a lawyer her case may have been thrown out or she would have received less punishment.

Every person that walked into the courtroom that day had a right to trial, but this girl chose not to take her case in front of a jury. There was one young man by the age of twenty that appeared in court for the same offense as the girl; however, his situation was handled a bit differently. This was not his first citation for a minor in possession, and because of this his consequences were a bit more severe. He also had to wait in the courtroom for about an hour before talking to the solicitor, and then he waited another thirty minutes before going in front of the judge.

When reentering the courtroom this young man was allowed to go straight to the room in the back to talk to the probation people being that there was no one else in front of him. Once he went in front of the judge he received a five hundred dollar fine and was put on probation for six months. I believe that his punishment was harsher, but rightfully so, since this was his second offense. I believe the judge gave him six months of probation in hopes that it would tone down his drinking pattern. Another thing that the judge did different with this young man was that his attitude when giving the charge was much less sympathetic.

When the judge gave him his sentence his tone of voice proved that he had no sympathy for this young man, unlike when he gave the young girl her sentence. When he was speaking to the girl his tone was more forgiving because it was her first offense. The judge approached the two different cases very different based on their background and it being her first citation and his second. I believe this was the case because the young mans time before the judge was towards the end of the day and that it was not his first offense.

After watching this young mans process in court I strongly feel that justice was served, however, I do think he should have received a more severe sentence. After being in a probation program the first offense I feel that in this case it did not help the young man and that he should have received jail time. This goes to show how every judge is different and in this case these two college students got lucky. These cases opened my eyes in a way they made me realize that what I did was a terrible mistake and were not the right choice on my part.

It made me realize that before being of age you might not be physically holding an alcoholic beverage but if there is alcohol in the room than you can still be charged with a minor in possession. A lot of college students partake in binge drinking and going to parties because they feel they have to or that they will not fit in if they do not. As more college students are prone to drinking than others the rate of citations that are given to college students are extremely high.

The day I went to court there were at least a hundred college students under age that were appearing in court for a D. U. I or a minor in possession of alcohol. The amount of people in court for these charges did not shock me being that drinking in college seems to be the norm. The entire minor in possession of alcohol cases that I heard on March twenty-ninth allowed me to see how common this charge is against minors. I feel that this is a common occurrence because research shows that your brain does not fully develop until your twenty-one. For my major I want to research on the topic of whether or not our brains are fully developed at eighteen or twenty-one.

Looking at the situation from a psychological point of view, one may ask the question of why do minors participate in binge drinking. A majority of eighteen, nineteen, and twenty year-olds drink because they have older friends who are twenty-one, and most of them probably drink. This is exposing minor’s to alcohol and causing them to want to do what their older counter parts are already doing. Things like this are why I want to go into developmental psychology and complete studies on these types of matters.

However, no matter the reasoning behind why minor’s drink, it is still against the law and the judge does not take it into consideration when he is providing you with your punishment. I feel that the judge is being fair by giving these young adults probation time rather than jail time. This way they realize what they did and how serious the charge could have been. I thoroughly feel that Peachtree City Municipal court was well put together with polite but intimidating police officers, a clean environment, and a place where justice is served constantly.

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