Ahhh your twenties – your whole life is before you, all the opportunity, the excitement and potential.
Don’t screw it up – let Uncle Jeremy tell you the 4 legal things you MUST know to survive to make it to 30.
Okay, number ONE – dealing with the police.
Be polite, be respectful, but most of all be QUIET. If you are on the BAD end of a police interaction, the police are not your friends. They are looking for a reason to arrest you and you absolutely MUST NOT say anything that incriminates you and the best way to do that is not talk. At all. And you are going to want to talk, because you are a good person and you might not have done ANYTHING wrong – you think. You’ll mostly interact with police at a traffic stop and you are obligated to provide your drivers’ license and registration but NOT to answer any questions.
And finally, do not EVER EVER consent to ANY searches of yourself or your property. If asked, you have to say “I do not consent to any searches.” Don’t talk and don’t consent and if you are ever arrested only ever say “I want to speak with a lawyer.” Then call your Dad to bail you out.
Number Two: Copyright Violations.
You’re on Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook? You are online posting and sharing all the time AND you are violating copyright laws all the time. Contrary to popular belief, nothing needs to be filed and there doesn’t have to be anything “official” for any artistic work to be copyright protected – it’s automatic.
Anytime you use someone else’s creation for your own profit, that’s a Copyright violation. Have I been sued by Vince Vaughn for using The Wedding Crasher’s clip in a prior vlog? Not yet. Mainly because the damages in a Copyright violation lawsuit are the money you make from the violation and I do these videos just for fun – so the lawsuit would be really limited to an injunction.
So how would you get in trouble in your life? Let’s say you found a job at a company and you work on SEO for the company website. You have to make a certain page of the website and you find some content online that has all the keywords you need so you cut and paste it onto the webpage, because that’s how you made it through college – cut and paste. Well, in the business world that will probably lead to a cease and desist letter and possibly a lawsuit. Be careful with Copyright violations as you transition to the business world.
No one likes to think about it but we all die and you are no exception.
Going into your twenties you need two extremely important documents. The first is a will. You might think you don’t need a will because that’s for old people – but you do. A will is not for you but for your family. The joke is very true: Death is like being stupid. It’s only painful for others.
Another joke: What did the Nihilist say on his death bed? Here goes nothing!
So make a will even if you don’t have much of anything. What happens to your car, your bank account, your collection of Avengers figurines … Having a will makes everything so much easier for your family when you die.
The 2nd document you MUST create in your twenties is a healthcare directive or Living Will. A living will tells your family what you want to happen if you are injured and brain dead or something like that. It can also include if you want to be an organ donor. Imagine your Mom having to make the decision about whether to pull the plug on the machine keeping you alive and how hard that decision would be for her – help her out by telling her and the doctors what you want to have done.
Everything you text or put on social media is out there FOREVER – even if you delete it. In the last 20 years, many states have enacted Cyberbullying laws. We hope that going into your 20s we wouldn’t have to worry about that – but I do see what adults put on Facebook so I am not so sure. But now the stakes are higher because you can go to jail for what you put online. Just be nice guys – life is too short.
Next, you should know about Defamation because you can get sued for it. Defamation is the publishing of false information to a third party which causes damage to the person you are talking about. Again, be careful what you post. Three examples and a quiz about which is defamatory:
- You post a picture of a girl you dislike and say “This sweater she’s wearing is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.” Defamation? No, because you are only giving your opinion of her sweater – not stating anything false. Not defamation but you are still a horrible person.
- You text a guy you don’t like “How many STDs do you have? You’ve slept with every prostitute in town.” Defamation? No, because you did not publish the statement to a third party – only the guy you hate.
- What if you post online that Ben Affleck is such a horrible actor that he should have been an extra on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Defamation? No, because truth is an absolute defense to Defamation. 🙂
In conclusion, please allow me to wish you best of luck getting through your twenties – it’s much harder nowadays but I am an optimist on your generation – that’s why I left out any discussion of divorce law. Good luck!