Drug abuse is an issue for adults and juveniles alike. Every year, more than 1.5 million individuals in the United States are arrested on drug charges. Louisiana, in particular, has one of the highest drug-related arrest counts of any state. No matter how common drug charges are, no parent ever expects to get a call because their child was arrested.
If they are not handled correctly, drug charges have the potential to affect your child’s entire future. Here, we will discuss the severity of juvenile drug possession charges and what you should do if a juvenile in your care is arrested.
Understanding the Severity of Drug Possession Charges
For individuals between the ages of 10 and 18, drug possession, use, and distribution are considered delinquent acts. It is essential to understand that the same act, when committed by an adult, is considered a criminal offense. Common penalties for juvenile drug possession charges include:
- Drug counseling
- Pre-trial diversion program assignments
- Juvenile detention
Although it might be difficult for a young person to go through any of these penalties, the variety of penalties for juveniles is designed to benefit both the individual facing charges and society as a whole.
How Does the Juvenile Criminal Justice System in Louisiana Work?
Fortunately, the criminal justice system for juveniles in Louisiana is different from the adult court system. Here is what might happen if your child is arrested for a drug offense:
- The criminal justice system can hold them in jail for up to 72 hours
- The court can issue a subpoena requiring them to appear in court
- The district attorney will determine whether to proceed with the case or dismiss it
- If the case proceeds, the court will determine the adjudication or whether they are convicted
- At a disposition, the court will determine the proper course of action and penalties
The best case scenario is that your child’s case would be either dismissed or referred to a pre-trial diversion program. Such programs are designed to help youths amend their poor decisions through counseling and treatment and create a brighter outlook for their futures.
When Should I Contact a Juvenile Defense Attorney?
Any individual under the age of 18 facing charges for drug possession has a tough road ahead of them. If convicted, such charges could affect life opportunities such as:
- Higher education
- Job opportunities
- Entering the military
- Athletic opportunities
The last thing you want as a parent is for your child’s mistakes to follow them for the rest of their life. Therefore, it is essential to contact an attorney as soon as you learn your child is facing charges for drug possession. The sooner you contact an attorney, the more likely they are to be able to mitigate the charges they face and settle the case before your child is forced to appear in court.
Reputable Drug Lawyers In Louisiana
In the state of Louisiana, reputable drug defense lawyers can be found at the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm. With more than 25 years of experience, Eric Johnson and his team of attorneys understand how to create a winning defense strategy for your minor. They take the time to get to know each of their clients individually and commit themselves to investigating each aspect of your child’s case to present a strong argument in court.
Juvenile drug possession charges are serious. Don’t rely on an inexperienced attorney with only a handful of trials under his belt to protect your loved one’s rights. Trust a seasoned juvenile defense attorney in Louisiana who is a member of the Louisiana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.