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My child was charged with drug use. What happens now?

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Criminal Law

When faced with academic difficulties, mental health issues, and peer pressure, the youth sometimes turn to illegal substances for relief. In Pennsylvania, it is a troubling reality that children as young as 12 are using drugs, with marijuana as the common culprit.

Unfortunately, children are not immune from the law. If your child has been charged with a drug offense, there could be lasting consequences. Your guidance and prompt action as a parent can have a significant impact on your child’s situation.

Potential penalties and charges for underage drug use

Discovering that your child is struggling and using drugs can be a hard pill to swallow. Unfortunately, no matter what age, possessing marijuana and other illegal substances is against the law. Your child could face the following charges:

  • Possession of illegal drugs: For carrying marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, methamphetamine or similar substances
  • Illegal possession of prescription drugs: For carrying prescriptions not legally prescribed to them
  • Possession with intent to sell: For having illegal drugs and items such as bags, scales and containers indicating plans to sell or distribute
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia: For having items used to consume or prepare drugs for use

What happens after an arrest

After an arrest, your child may have to go through a juvenile detention hearing. This typically consists of two parts. In the first part, the judge decides if there is enough evidence (probable cause) to believe your child committed the offense. Without enough evidence, your child goes free.

However, if there is probable cause, a second hearing will be set. The court will determine if your child should stay in detention or if there are other options.

In most cases, the court prefers rehabilitation over punishment for juveniles. The court may offer alternative programs focused on recovery and reduced penalties depending on the circumstances.

Fighting underage drug charges

One way to protect your child may be to secure a lawyer experienced in juvenile law. They can guide you, defend your child’s rights, and work to preserve their reputation. Considering legal deadlines and the need to preserve evidence, it is critical to move fast.

Remember, drug charges are not yet a conviction. You and your child can still fight this.



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