Professor co-authors book to help college students avoid legal troubles

In a study conducted by the University of Missouri, 69 percent of college students who used false identification to purchase alcohol had borrowed an actual ID from a relative or a friend rather than purchased a forgery.  As college students in North Carolina head to classes this fall, they may not realize that using the real ID of another person is a felony in this state.  Or that there are a host of laws they may be unaware that they are breaking, which could have life-altering affects on their futures.

A newly released book, Ignorance Is No Defense, A College Student’s Guide To North Carolina Law, explains more than 100 North Carolina laws that affect college students.  The book, using realistic examples and straightforward language, is a unique and practical resource for college students.

The book’s authors are Wilson Parker, professor of Constitutional Law at Wake Forest University School of Law, and J.Tom Morgan, a former District Attorney in Atlanta and currently a lawyer in private practice.

“We were inspired to write this book because of our concern that many college students are not aware of the criminal laws that impact them or the consequences of violating these laws,” Parker says. “There’s nothing else out there like this. Every parent with a child that is going to college should buy this book for their student.

“Many college students are under the illusion that colleges exist in a ‘bubble.’  They think that the rules that apply in the outside world don’t apply on campus.  In reality, the laws of the State of North Carolina apply everywhere in North Carolina, including college campuses.  With most crimes, whether or not you intend to commit a crime is not relevant.  The only thing that is important is whether or not you intend to commit the act that results in a crime.  Students will not be able to defend themselves by saying it was only an accident or joke or that they didn’t know they were committing a crime.  Ignorance is no defense – hence the title of our book,” Parker added.

Parker and Morgan have spent their entire legal careers teaching, counseling, representing, and working with young people.   Morgan is also the author of Ignorance Is No Defense, A Teenager’s Guide to Georgia Law and has spoken to thousands of teenagers and college students about laws in Georgia.  “This book’s overwhelming success in Georgia led me to approach Professor Parker about writing a similar book for the college community in North Carolina,” said Morgan.  Parker and Morgan each have two children who have attended college in North Carolina.

Ken Zick, vice president and dean of student affairs at Wake Forest University, commented, “Woven with relevant and compelling examples of common situations faced by college students, this book answers legal questions frequently asked by students and parents.  If every North Carolina college student read this book, we could help students avoid legal trouble and advance an important dialogue on civic duties and rights.”

Honorable Peter Gilchrist, District Attorney, City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, remarked, “Most weeks I have several cases involving college or high school students who have been charged with criminal offenses that result in prison sentences as well as criminal records that will follow them for years.  This book’s easy-to-understand explanations of North Carolina law and real-life examples of situations that students may face might well have prevented some of these charges.  This book should be in the hands of every college student in North Carolina and in every high school library as well.”

The book is available at as well as on Amazon and in the Wake Forest  University bookstore.