As tough as it is for parents to admit, most teens are going to make poor decisions at some point. It is natural for teens to exert their independence and challenge boundaries. For some, that means experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Yet, should one bad choice mar a bright future? Unfortunately, juvenile drug possession in the United States has serious ramifications. If your child was caught with drugs in New Jersey, this is what you need to know about the charges and how they can affect your family. While a drug possession charge can be incredibly frightening, it is important to stay calm and trust your Haddonfield criminal lawyer to recommend the ideal legal course of action to minimize the damage.
Illegal Drug Possession
Juveniles under the age of 18 that knowingly possess an illegal or controlled substance without a legal reason are committing a crime. Marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine are commonly known illegal drugs. Yet, what teens and their parents may not realize is prescription medications are also considered illegal when taken or possessed by someone other than the patient they are prescribed for.
You may also be surprised to know your child does not need to have drugs in their purse, pocket, or backpack to be charged with possession. If the prosecutor can show your child had control or knowledge of where the drugs were in a vehicle or home, that is considered possession. Claiming that you did not know about or where the drugs were located is generally not enough to avoid charges.
Penalties for Juvenile Drug Possession
When it comes to punishment for juvenile drug possession, the outcome often depends on the amount of drugs your child was caught with, what drugs were involved, and the circumstances of their arrest. Every case and situation are unique, but penalties might include one or a combination of:
- Diversion: This is one step before probation. If the teen adheres to all the terms of this program, they can forego juvenile court.
- Drug counseling: This is strongly encouraged for young and first-time offenders to support rehabilitation and prevent habitual drug use.
- Probation: Ordered by the court, teens on probation must adhere to certain terms that might include full-time education or employment, community service, drug counseling, and meetings with a probation officer.
For especially serious offenses, detention is possible. Detention is unlikely to involve jail, but can be home confinement, placement with a foster family, or relocation to a juvenile home or detention center. Detention is more likely if your child has already possessed the drug while in the act of committing another crime.
Haddonfield Criminal Lawyers at Aita Law, LLC Help Families of Teens Facing Drug Charges
A drug charge can have lasting repercussions for juvenile offenders. If your teen is facing drug charges, trust a skilled Haddonfield criminal lawyer at Aita Law, LLC to fight for your teen’s defense. Call us at 856-287-7800 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, we represent clients throughout South Jersey, including Cherry Hill and Camden County.