Long Arm of the Law

1. The police will catch you if you have done something illegal.


The evening started out just like any other Friday night. A car full of teenage boys made its way down the dusty back roads of Wisconsin minding their own business until the whirring of sirens and beams of red and blue disrupted the subtle silence of the moment.

What does one do when they’ve been pulled over by a police officer? And what happens when they have drugs with them?

Senior Josh Redman now knows the answers to both of those questions.

Redman was confused on why he had been pulled over, but he feared the worst as the cop emerged from his vehicle. He hadn’t been speeding and he had all of obeyed traffic laws, but he knew he would be busted for his possession of drugs. His confusion turned to panic when the cop told Redman and his friends to exit the vehicle. Upon pondering the situation at a later time, Redman decided the cop had simply pulled them over out of suspicion of drug possession since Redman had followed all of the rules of the road.

On bare knees with their hands in the air, the group watched in panic as the cop searched each of them and their vehicle for drugs.

“You don’t get a choice for cops searching your car,” Redman said.

Hidden among seat cushions, mini compartments and pockets were the paraphernalia and remnants of marijuana that the crew smoked earlier that day. Two of the boys were busted for containment; Redman was one of them; however, no one else involved was charged.

“It’s how cops are,” Redman said. “They find something and they find the owner.”

Since multiple containers of pot were found amongst Redman and his vehicle, he feared that the cop would mistake him for drug dealing, which, according to Illinois Laws and penalties, is punishable by up to a year in jail with a fine that differs with each situation.

This was not so for Redman’s encounter. He returned home that night with a fine and ticket that is permanently on his record until he turns 18 years of age.

Although this encounter with a cop was not as bad for Redman, the other boy who was convicted faced the wrath of his parents and was forced to attend a military academy as part of a bail deal.

“It’s like your family turns on you,” Redman said. “I hid it from my family for three months.”

The aftermath of the situation still leaves Redman confused on why there is such a large hype on busting marijuana users.

“Pot makes you okay with being bored,” Redman said. “It’s probably not going to make you kill someone or make you a psychopath.”

The other anonymous convict agreed with Redman that marijuana should simply be legalized to end the conflicts faced with gang-drug sale affiliations and make it more easily available to those with health issues that could benefit from it.

“If tobacco and alcohol are legal, marijuana should be legal, too,” Calvin said (A student whose name was changed for confidentiality reasons).

Redman and his friends went home with a ticket and a bail deal for two of the boys.

Before trying anything else, Redman and his friends now know the full extent of consequences so they can avoid being the next victims held at the long arm of the law.