Juvenile Drug Crimes Lawyer Chester County
Juvenile Drug Crimes
There are many drugs and medications which are controlled and regulated under state and federal laws. Any person possessing a controlled substance with no legally recognized reason may be charged with drug possession. Under Pennsylvania law, when a person under the age of 18 knowingly possesses a regulated drug or illegal substance, the minor can be charged with a drug crime and penalties can result in the event of a conviction. Any parent who has ever gotten the phone call saying their child has been arrested and charged with a drug crime knows just how emotionally devastating it can be.
Even if your child does not fully recognize the long-range repercussions of a drug crime conviction, as an adult, you certainly do. You are likely fully aware that a conviction for a Pennsylvania drug crime can leave a permanent mark on your child’s record, severely limiting his or her future educational and employment opportunities. To ensure your child has the very best chance at a positive outcome following a drug-related arrest, speak to a Chester County attorney as soon as possible following the arrest.
Potential Charges for Juvenile Drug Crimes
Like adults in the state, there is a wide range of potential drug charges your child may have been charged with. Some of those include:
- Possession of illegal drugs. Your child may have been charged with possession of a controlled substances such as methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, LSD, opium, ecstasy or other drugs.
- Illegal possession of a prescription drug. When drugs such as Vicodin, Xanax, Valium, Adderall, etc., are found in the possession of a juvenile, and the juvenile has no valid prescription for the drugs, he or she may be charged with illegal possession of a prescription drug.
- Possession with intent to sell. The presence of such items as containers, scales or bags are just a few of the factors used by law enforcement to determine whether the juvenile intended to sell the drugs in his or her possession.
- Possession of drug paraphernalia. Possession of any object used for (or intended to be used for) preparing drugs, packaging drugs, producing drugs, planting drugs, injecting drugs or inhaling drugs is illegal under Pennsylvania law.
In some instances, a juvenile could be charged as an adult, depending on the circumstances surrounding the drug crime. This should be avoided at all costs, and your Chester County juvenile drug crime defense attorney will work hard to ensure your child is charged as a juvenile, therefore will face juvenile penalties if convicted. Depending on the facts of your child’s drug crime charges, he or she may even be offered deferred adjudication by the District Attorney.
Deferred adjudication could require your child to remain under house arrest, attend drug counseling or enter a drug abuse program, have his or her driver’s license suspended, undergo periodic drug testing, and be sentenced to a specific amount of community service. If your child is offered deferred adjudication, and successfully completes all the requirements, then the original charges will be dropped. If, on the other hand, the child fails to complete the requirements associated with deferred adjudication, he or she could be prosecuted for the original offense.
What Happens After the Arrest?
If your child is arrested, you must be notified. You may have no idea what will happen next, which is a primary reason to have a Philadelphia juvenile drug crimes attorney by your side from start to finish. While every case is different, below is the basic sequence of events following your child’s arrest:
- Whether your child will be released to your custody or detained in a secure detention center until his or her Court date depends on whether this is his or her first arrest, the exact charges, and the risk to the safety of your child, property or others.
- Some Pennsylvania counties have “First Offender” or “Diversion Programs,” which are meant to screen out juveniles who have committed very minor offenses. (These programs may not apply for drug crimes). If your child is allowed to enter such a program, the case will close upon completion of the program.
- If your child is detained in a juvenile detention facility or other placement facility, he or she will go before a judge for a Detention Hearing within 72 hours. Call a Pennsylvania juvenile drug crime attorney immediately, then try to see your child.
- If your child is charged as an adult, he or she may be detained in county jail; if this should happen, don’t panic. Talk to your Chester County attorney about having the case transferred to the juvenile justice system.
- If your child is referred to juvenile Court, a process called “Intake” will begin. This means a juvenile probation officer will be conducting interviews with your child and you. An assessment may be involved (a series of questions asked of you and your child). Make sure your child answers all questions truthfully.
- The probation officer will decide how to handle your child’s case, after asking for records and information from your child’s school as well as any other agencies your child may have been associated with. The probation officer will then decide whether to refer your child for informal supervision or schedule your child’s case for a Court hearing.
- There are four basic outcomes in your child’s drug crime case. Your Philadelphia attorney may be able to have the case dismissed entirely, meaning the case is closed. Informal Adjustment means your child is allowed to live at home, however must follow all rules handed down by the juvenile probation officer. Informal Adjustment can last up to six months, then the charges will be dismissed. Under Consent Decree, it will be recommended that the case proceed, and a delinquency petition be filed. The last outcome is known as Adjudication, meaning a formal delinquency petition will be filed, and your child’s case will be heard before a judge.
Contact Our West Chester Juvenile Criminal Defense Lawyers
If your child has been charged with a juvenile drug crime in West Chester, Philadelphia, Lancaster, or anywhere in the State of Pennsylvania, it is crucial you speak to an experienced West Chester juvenile criminal defense attorney immediately in order to safeguard your child’s future.
The Chester County drug crime defense attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices have successfully represented individuals throughout the state of Pennsylvania that have been accused of sex crimes. Our Chester County law firm is based at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380 and serves clients in Kennett Square, Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, Exton, Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville, and Paoli. Contact us now at (610) 692-8700 or call toll free (877) 529-2422. Don’t wait—contact an attorney immediately.