We all do our best to teach our children well. After all, raising children is one of the toughest jobs known to man and woman, and unfortunately does not come with an instruction manual. But in the real world, sometimes even the best teaching and best-learned lessons can all be for naught. Take the following true story gleaned from an actual court case.
Tommy was 21 years old and a smart young man. He had been invited to a college party at a friend’s house several kilometres outside of town. Since the party was to be a kegger, he knew that there would be a lot to drink and not much to eat.
His parents had taught him three golden rules of young adulthood. One, if you drink don’t drive; and two, if you think you’re going to drink, make alternate arrangements for the end of the evening; and three, always listen to the police and those who are properly in authority.
Tommy did all the right things. Since he knew that he would be drinking, he arranged with a host of the party to stay over at his house at the end of the evening. In that way he could safely drive to the party without worrying about having to drive home after having hoisted a few.
The party got a little loud and boisterous, and someone called the cops. Two police officers came to break up the party before it could deteriorate into something dangerous. One police officer loudly ordered everyone who did not live at the house to go home.
Tommy went over to the policeman and told him that he was supposed to stay over after the party so that he would not have to drive home. The police officer told him that since he did not live there he would have to leave. The police officer obviously knew that Tommy had been drinking and that the party was located far from public transportation or taxis.
Since Tommy did not feel at all drunk a he assumed that the police officer meant that he was good to go, and go he did.
Five minutes after he left the party the same police officer pulled him over and arrested him charging him with two criminal offenses: driving while impaired and, since he failed the breathalyzer test, driving with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit.
At his trial, Tommy pleaded that he only left the party because the police officer told him to do so. He pointed out that he had done all the right things and in fact was not even a little bit impaired when he was driving. He asked the court to stay the proceedings which would mean that he would neither be convicted nor acquitted of the offenses but that the trial would simply stop there because Tommy had relied on the police officer and had only done what he had been told to do.
The judge, while sympathetic, acquitted him of driving while impaired since there was no evidence that he was unable to drive, but convicted him of driving with more than the legal limit of alcohol in his blood. He refused to stay the proceedings even though Tommy had only been doing what he thought was right all along.
Tommy appealed his conviction to the Superior court where that judge decided that the conviction would stand and didn’t care much about the police officers actions or how they impacted Tommy’s life.
A final appeal to the Court of Appeal was also turned down with the Court of Appeal refusing to even hear the case.
It just goes to show that sometimes even if you teach your children well and they learn every lesson, things may not always turn out the way you think they should.