Although the juvenile criminal justice system is supposed to rehabilitate teens, it often ends up teaching troubled kids more about becoming a career criminal. If your child has been charged with a drug crime, it is highly recommended to hire an experienced California juvenile defense attorney to defend your son or daughter and let you concentrate on getting your child back on track.
It is very common for a young teenager to make poor choices; however, when these poor choices turn into drug crimes, your child can face the unpleasant legal consequences that can negatively and tremendously affect his or her life.
WHAT DRUGS ARE COMMONLY USED BY TEENS?
Thousands of juveniles try narcotics on a daily basis. While some of them will never turn their one-time experiment into full-blown addiction, far too many teenagers will keep taking narcotics and eventually become addicts.
According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, these are commonly used narcotics by teenagers:
- Crystal Meth
WHAT TYPES OF DRUG CRIMES DO JUVENILES COMMIT?
There are a wide variety of narcotic crimes that teens commit and get charged with:
– Possession of illegal substance
– Sale of illegal substance
– Intent to distribute an illegal substance
– Transportation of illegal substance
– Cultivation of illegal substance
Even if your child was caught with a small number of narcotics, it can result in serious legal charges filed against him or her.
WHAT PENALTIES DO TEENS FACE FOR DRUG CRIMES?
The penalties for crimes committed by minors in California depend on the type of offense—the amount of it and what actions were taken with the substance in question. For instance, possession of a substance such as marijuana will result in less severe penalties than possession of heroin or crystal meth.
Cultivation and transportation of illegal narcotics often result in the most severe penalties; on the other hand, the majority of minors are charged with possession, sale, and intent to distribute.
The penalties for juvenile narcotic crimes might range from informal probation to mandatory rehabilitation and long-term incarceration. While adult penalties are designed to punish criminals, juvenile penalties focus on the rehabilitation of teens that have committed these offenses. An experienced criminal defense attorney may help to avoid juvenile detention institutions altogether, help to drop the charges against your child, significantly lessen his or her charges or get alternative sentencing options for your minor child, such as the variety of rehabilitation programs available in California or community service hours.
WHAT KIND OF ALTERNATIVE SENTENCING OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR TEENS?
Alternative sentencing is a better alternative than serving time in jail or prison. The majority of teens commit these offenses because of their developed addictions. In these cases, the goal of the criminal justice system is to help a minor struggling with drug addiction, instead of sending him or her away to prison.
These are the most common forms:
- Supervised or Unsupervised Probation
- Community Service
- House Arrest
- Electronic Monitoring
- AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings
- Behavioral Management Programs
- Therapy Sessions
- Out-patient and Residential Alcohol or Drug Rehabilitation Programs
However, not every teen will be considered for alternative sentencing. When a judge determines if a teen meets the requirements, the judge takes into consideration a juvenile’s criminal history, his or her character, the nature and circumstances of the crime committed, the risks and needs of a juvenile, and the necessity to imprison a teen for the public protection. Minors who commit drug crimes for the first time and who are not charged with transportation or intent to sell illegal drugs will have a better chance to qualify for alternative sentencing.
Alternative sentencing is the most preferable penalty for teens who commit these types of offenses. These programs allow minor defendants to keep going to school, maintaining a job, and, overall, have almost the same lifestyle they had before being charged with a drug crime. Some alternative programs, if completed successfully, also allow the lowering or complete dismissal of charges.
If charges were filed against your teenage child and you are not sure if he or she qualifies for sentencing programs, do not hesitate to contact us. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys will help you to determine if your child meets the requirements for the alternative sentencing options.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA JUVENILE DEFENSE ATTORNEYS
Anyone whose child is facing criminal charges in California is highly encouraged to seek counsel from a skilled attorney as soon as possible. Alternative sentencing options help to decrease crime rates by rehabilitating minor offenders instead of imposing harsh punishments on them. Our goal is to keep your child out of jail and make sure that he or she receives the necessary rehabilitation treatment and have a second chance in life.