Many Americans experiment with recreational drugs in their adolescent and teen years. Our three most recent presidents have admitted to using marijuana, and it didn’t hold them back –because they didn’t get caught. But that is poor consolation if your son or daughter is facing charges of drug possession.
Charges and penalties for drug possession in Arizona
Regardless of how common marijuana use is and regardless of how any individual may feel about it, marijuana and many other drugs are illegal in Arizona and most of the country. To get caught with any illegal drug in your possession is a crime. In Arizona, although possession of marijuana can be charged as a misdemeanor, it is much more likely to be charged as a class 6 felony if the amount is small enough that it is considered to be for personal use.
Possession of narcotic drugs—cocaine, crack, heroine, and controlled opioid drugs for which one does not have a prescription– is usually charged as a class 4 felony. Even for a first offense it is possible to face time in prison for drug possession. The drugs don’t have to be found on the accused, but could be in a location considered under the person’s control, like a locker, car, backpack, or home.
Options available to some juveniles to avoid a criminal record
Juveniles, especially first time offenders, may be able to avoid charges for drug possession by participating in a diversionary program administered by a juvenile drug court. By completing the program, a young person may be able to have the charges dropped. However, not every juvenile defendant qualifies for these programs.
A juvenile defense attorney with experience in representing young defendants knows how to present the defense to both prosecutors and judges to give your child the best chance to avoid a lifetime of trying to overcome the stigma of a criminal conviction by allowing him or her to participate in a program that focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. These programs involve not only the child, but the whole family, and teach skills and attitudes that reduce the likelihood of continued drug use and further entanglements with the law. They usually involve not only drug rehab but also individual and family counseling and often community service.
Even in cases where the juvenile may not qualify for a diversionary program, because of a previous adjudication, for example, an experienced defense lawyer can often present a defense that may result in the charges being reduced or dropped.
Put experience on your child’s side
Jeremy Geigle is an Arizona juvenile defense lawyer with the law firm of Jackson White who understands how difficult it is for a person with a felony record, even as a juvenile, to overcome that stigma when applying for college, scholarships, and jobs. He is dedicated to fighting for every child’s future, and will leave no option unexamined that can help a young person get back on track toward a meaningful and productive life.
If your child is facing drug possession of other juvenile charges in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Gilbert, Tucson, Prescott, or elsewhere in Arizona, Jeremy offers a free consultation and discussion of the options that might be available to avoid detention and a criminal conviction. Every child deserves a second chance and Jeremy Geigle will fight to see that your child gets one.