Every year, as school is winding to a close and graduation draws near, I get an increase in phone calls from parents with legal matters and questions about their minor children and recently turned 18 young adults. Working on cases with young families is especially rewarding because I get to help return peace of mind to worried parents, while helping a youth recover from a mistake that they'd like to forget. I am always available for questions from you, your kids, your friends or neighbors in our community that need some legal advice.

Douglas Ridley

Lately, I've had a chance to be proactive about making a difference with kids in our community. I've been asked to speak to teenagers nearing adulthood and help them stay clear of getting in trouble in the first place. This year, I got a chance to speak to the graduating class at Moorpark High School. The presentation I gave was called ,"When you turn 18," named after the California State Bar's educational piece which covers the changes and expectations that our criminal justice system has for teenagers once they cross that line into legal adulthood. We talked about DUI laws, drugs, cell phones, and even rules that govern dating. We also discussed the DMV and the many different ways that teens can lose their license for a year.

I made sure that each high school senior left with a copy of the pamphlet provided by the state bar:

Become 18

In this same spirit, I ask that you all help me raise awareness about the dangers of "graduation season". Get the attention of the teen in your life by encouraging safe celebrations and marking your social media posts with #SafeGrads over the coming days and weeks when you tweet or post to Facebook. #SafeGrads will be a gentle reminder to our sons and daughters to have fun, but the right kind of fun. Oh yeah, and if you don't know what the hash tag means, ask your grad!

As ALWAYS, feel free to reach out on behalf of your family, or even have your child contact me directly if that works better for your situation. I'm happy to answer any of your questions, and hopefully, together we can keep kids from ever getting caught up in the justice system. But as always, I will stand proudly in your corner if you ever need me.

I hope that you are all having an enjoyable Memorial Day Holiday. Here's to a safe end of the school year! #SafeGrads