Law Offices of Ellis and Bryant, P.A.

Minor in Possession of Drugs

Jacksonville Lawyers Defending Juveniles Accused of Drug Crimes

Drug offenders under eighteen years old are generally subject to a different legal process than the system in place for adult defendants. In Florida, when a minor is accused of a criminal offense in Florida, the matter is usually handled by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. If your child has been charged with drug possession, a Jacksonville drug crime attorney can guide you through the next steps. At Ellis and Bryant, our dedicated attorneys understand how the juvenile justice system works. We can advise you of the options that may be available in a minor in possession of drugs case and pursue a favorable outcome for your child.

The Charge of Minor in Possession of Drugs

Unlawful possession of a controlled substance is illegal in Florida. Controlled substances include street drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, as well as many prescription medications, such as Vicodin and Xanax. Any person found in possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription or other legal authorization may be charged with a drug crime. Florida takes a hardline stance against illegal drug use, and simple possession of most controlled substances is a third-degree felony offense. When a large amount of drugs are involved, the offender may face a more serious charge for possession with intent to sell.

A youth offender who is under the age of eighteen may be charged as a minor in possession of drugs. Depending on the severity of the offense, the officer may take the minor into custody for a detention risk assessment or release the minor to a parent or guardian. Although a juvenile may be prosecuted as an adult defendant in some situations, a minor in possession of drugs offense is usually considered a delinquent act and handled in the juvenile justice system.

Fight the Charges in Juvenile Court

Resolving a minor in possession of drugs charge in juvenile court, rather than through the adult criminal justice system, can have a few advantages. Most significant is that a drug possession offense adjudicated in juvenile court is not considered a felony conviction. Although adjudication may be subject to sanctions such as detention and probation, the Florida juvenile justice system essentially aims to rehabilitate youth offenders and prevent future delinquent offenses. The consequences for a juvenile adjudication, while serious, are not as harsh as the penalties that may be imposed for a drug conviction in the adult criminal system. Moreover, minors have the opportunity to receive treatment for drug abuse and addition issues.

For a first-time drug possession offense in juvenile court, a minor may be recommended for a diversion program. If the minor complies with the requirements of diversion and successfully completes the program, the court will take no further action. If the minor is not recommended for diversion or does not complete the program, the state attorney may file a petition in juvenile court formally charging the minor. The minor may defend against a drug possession charge at an adjudicatory hearing before the judge. Throughout the juvenile justice process, the minor has all of the basic rights granted by the United States and Florida Constitutions, including the right to due process, the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and the right to counsel. A juvenile defense attorney can develop an appropriate strategy in a minor in possession of drugs case and advocate for a favorable outcome on behalf of your child.

Seek a Jacksonville Attorney Defending Minor in Possession of Drugs Charges

If your child has been charged with a juvenile drug violation, an experienced lawyer can help. At Ellis and Bryant, our hardworking Jacksonville lawyers can defend juveniles against charges for a minor in possession of drugs, as well as other criminal violations. We serve people located throughout Duval and Clay Counties, particularly Jacksonville Beach, Middleburg, and Orange Park. Schedule a free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys by calling (904) 551-4120 or contacting Ellis and Bryant online.