Many drugs, chemicals, and medications are controlled and regulated by state and federal laws. If you have them without a valid prescription, you could face drug possession charges. When someone under 18 knowingly has a regulated drug without a good reason, it's considered illegal, and they might face juvenile criminal charges.
For adults caught with controlled substances, they're charged with a crime and their cases go to regular district court. But for juveniles, it's different. Their cases go to juvenile court, which is less formal and offers more alternatives than the regular criminal justice system.
Drug possession for juveniles means having a controlled or illegal substance without a good reason. Often, these charges come up during routine traffic stops when police find drugs in the car or after questioning the driver. Juveniles can be charged even if they don't have the drug on them, as long as they have access to it.
Common substances involved in juvenile drug possession cases include marijuana, alcohol, prescription medications, and inhalers. Prescription drugs are often misused by people aged 14 and older. It's okay for a juvenile to have prescription drugs if they have a valid prescription. But if someone with a prescription gives pills from their bottle to another person, the one without the prescription can be charged with juvenile drug possession, and the one sharing the drug can be charged with distributing 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.