JUVENILE ARRESTED FOR POSSESSION
Every parent wants what is best for their child, but sometimes difficult situations arise. When their child is arrested for drug possession, many parents do not know how to react. Drug and alcohol-related offenses are serious crimes, and even substances that are legal for adults to possess can carry heavy penalties if they are found in the hands of minors. Marijuana and alcohol are generally known as the “drug of choice” for teenagers, but prescription medications and inhalants have become increasingly common. It is always frightening to find your child accused of a crime, but in recent years juvenile law has started to treat drug possession more like an addiction than a crime. To make sure these charges are resolved in the best way for your child and family, it is important to remember some simple do’s and don’ts.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD IS ARRESTED
Although this situation is bound to be upsetting (and rightfully so), do your best to remain calm. Anger and panic will only make your child panic too. Substance use can also be indicative of other, larger problems in an adolescent’s life. Try to stay composed and reserve judgment until the full details of the situation are revealed. That said, you also want to set a positive example for your child. Minimizing or being dismissive of the charges will undermine how serious the situation truly is. Your child will need your support and guidance during this difficult time, which includes setting a positive example in taking the charges seriously and encouraging participation in treatment programs.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JUVENILE LAW AND CRIMINAL LAW
Juvenile law and criminal law are similar in many ways, but you will need the expertise of an attorney who specializes in juvenile law. Criminal law is generally focused on punishing adult offenders, while juvenile law looks at what is in the best interest of the minor. Adult offenders are more likely to be penalized for drug possession while juvenile offenders are more likely to receive counseling and therapy. It is important to work with an attorney who is familiar with the procedures of juvenile courts to get the best outcome for your child.
As mentioned above, treatment is a much more common outcome for juvenile offenders. Anything that you can do to be proactive in identifying and pursuing potential treatment paths for your child will be helpful. Whether it’s inpatient therapy, outpatient therapy, or just preventative counseling, try to help find and recommend a course of treatment that will suit your child’s needs. The court does not have unlimited time and funds, so getting involved as a parent is helpful to the court and shows your child that you are dedicated to supporting their treatment.
WHAT NOT TO DO IF YOUR CHILD IS ARRESTED
Treatment is the most common outcome in juvenile courts, but it is important not to take the charges lightly. These are serious crimes, and large quantities of the drugs, evidence of drug dealing, or multiple convictions can lead to much steeper penalties or even your child being charged in an adult criminal court. If the court does require your child to complete treatment, its completion must be taken seriously. You should also be an active participant in making sure your child is getting the help they need to avoid repeat offenses in the future.
At the time of the arrest, do not give the police permission to search your home or your car. The police do not have the right to search your property without a warrant. Even if you are unaware of it, if the police find evidence of drug dealing, your property could be seized and forfeited to the state. When a juvenile is arrested for possession, the police may encourage the minor to work as an informant to help catch more serious offenders. This can be a life-threatening situation for your child, and the “promises” the police make are not guarantees. Remember that the only deals that count in court are written agreements made between the defense attorney and the prosecutor.
JUVENILE IN POSSESSION
Today, juvenile courts are usually focused on determining the course of treatment that is most likely to help juvenile offenders deal with substance use or abuse issues. If your child is arrested for drug possession, they will need your support to get through this difficult situation. An experienced juvenile law attorney in Cumming can help you understand the best way to approach the case to ensure a productive sentence is reached.