Many teens experiment with things and test boundaries. This is a normal part of adolescent development. However, tweens and teens, just like adults, can be charged with crimes if they break the law. One of the more common laws that teens break is possessing or using illegal drugs. Here are some of the things to know about juveniles and drug possession charges in the state of Georgia.
In Georgia, the Juvenile Justice System works with people who are 17 years of age or younger. In this sense, to be considered a juvenile, you have to be under the age of 18. However, there are certain charges and aggravating factors where people who are 17 years old or younger will be charged as an adult.
Juveniles are not allowed to possess any illegal drugs or legal drugs that they do not possess a valid prescription for. They are not allowed to be in possession of any amount of it. With adults, there might be a threshold of how much of a drug you must be in possession of to face drug possession charges. This is not the same for teens.
Drug possession can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, even for juveniles. The exact penalties for juvenile drug possession will depend on whether it is classed as a misdemeanor or a felony, the number of drugs in their possession, and whether the defendant will be tried as an adult. If the defendant has a significant amount of drugs on them and it looks like they are selling drugs, the penalties would be much stiffer.
The most notable penalty for juvenile drug possession in Georgia is the possibility of being sent to a juvenile detention facility or, if tried as an adult, jail. This can be extremely disruptive for teens and can have a long-term impact on their ability to go to college, get financial aid, move into an apartment independently, or secure a job. It will take them outside of their normal lives and clubs and responsibilities for several weeks or months.
In addition to time spent at a juvenile detention facility or jail, the penalties for juvenile drug possession usually include monetary fines and community service hours. For many families, this can be a troublesome burden to bear.
If your teen has been charged with drug possession, it is important to get the best legal support for them as soon as possible. Having a great defense attorney on your side can limit the impact of these charges and potentially help you avoid a conviction. Contact Phillips Carson Phillips by calling (912) 232-0081 or using our online contact form to schedule a free consultation today.