Many drugs, chemicals, and medications are controlled and regulated by state and federal laws. And possession of these substances without a legally recognized prescription can result in a drug possession charge. When a person under the age of 18 knowingly possesses a regulated drug or substance without a legal reason, they are possessing drugs in an illegal manner which can lead to juvenile criminal charges.
Adults who are caught with controlled substances are charged with a crime and have their cases handled in regular district court. Juveniles, on the other hand, are treated differently. Their case is handled in the juvenile court system, which is much more informal and provides greater options than the criminal justice process.
The possession of drugs is defined as any juvenile who knowingly, and without legal justification, possesses a controlled or illegal substance. Most commonly, these charges arise after a routine traffic stop and a police officer notices drugs in the car or discovers drugs after a search or interrogation of the driver. Juveniles do not have to actually have an actual drug on his or her person to be charged, as long as he or she has access to the drug.
With marijuana and alcohol leading the way, a number of juvenile drug possession cases involve prescription medications and inhalers. As the most commonly misused substances by Americans age 14 and older, possessing prescription drugs without a valid prescription can lead to a drug possession charge. It is not illegal for a juvenile to possess a prescription drug so long as they have a prescription from a physician. But if the person with the prescription gives a couple of pills to another from his/her bottle, the person without the prescription is guilty of juvenile drug possession, and the person giving the drug can be charged with distribution of a controlled substance.
Juveniles face serious consequences when charged with a drug possession violation. Even though the crime of drug possession is the same for adults and juveniles, the juvenile justice process is different and provides greater options. Juvenile law tries to find a solution that focuses on what is in the best interest of the juvenile, while criminal law tends to focus on the punishment of an offender. The range of options are not guaranteed but can be considered in juvenile drug possession cases.
The juvenile courts tend to be open to various treatment options and will exhaust all possibilities before incarcerating a juvenile.
Working with a good lawyer will go a long way as a drug possession charge could impact a juveniles chances for a quality education, participation in extracurricular activities, and future employment. Whether you are a parent or a juvenile, find an experienced defense attorney who will review the facts and determine if police acted properly during their search and confiscation of the drugs. Juvenile drug possession is a serious situation, contact Bruno Law and work with an expert to avoid the harsh and unwanted penalties.