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Florida Drug Defense Attorney > Blog > Drug Crime Defense > A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Make The Difference Between Drug Court And Juvenile Detention

A Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Make The Difference Between Drug Court And Juvenile Detention


The beginning of every new year serves as a reminder that the days for a parent are long, but the years are short.  It seems like yesterday that your children were harmless infants whose only means of causing you to worry were by refraining from eating, sleeping, or pooping as you would want them to do.  Now that your teen has been experimenting with drugs, you can’t tell whether you are wishing for his 18th birthday or dreading it.  No matter the age of the defendant, getting arrested for drug possession for the first time is supposed to be an opportunity to begin drug treatment and to make a new start, but the War on Drugs mentality is so firmly entrenched among judges and the public that this is often not what happens.  Are the circumstances more conducive to a favorable outcome if your first drug arrest happens when you are a minor or an adult?  It depends on your perspective.  If your case goes to adult criminal court, you have the right to a jury trial, and if you cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the court will appoint one for you.  On the other hand, if you go to juvenile court, any ruling that the court makes in relation to your case will disappear from your record by the time you are in your mid-twenties, whether or not you request an expungement of the record.  In either case, though, you can be incarcerated, and some judges are excessively enthusiastic about throwing young defendants behind bars, despite the evidence that doing so does more harm than good.  Therefore, if your teen is being accused of drug crimes, it is essential that you contact a Florida drug offenses attorney.

Drug Court for Teens Works, but Juvenile Defendants Face an Uphill Battle Accessing It

When you remember your teenage self, it is obvious that maturity was the solution to your problems.  A recent report by the Sentencing Project makes the case that punitive interventions from the juvenile justice system make it more difficult for young people to develop the hallmarks of emotional maturity, such as self-control and acting in pursuit of long-term goals.  Despite that evidence has consistently shown this, juvenile courts continue to sentence defendants to detention both before and after adjudicating them delinquent.  While young people are in detention, they are often cut off from access to school and medical and dental care, and few of them return to school after the detention period ends.

By contrast, Hillsborough County, Florida holds juvenile drug court sessions every week, serving more than 300 teen defendants per year.  While participating in drug court, teens attend school, hold paid jobs, or pursue a GED, in addition to undergoing drug testing and substance abuse counseling.  When a defendant successfully completes drug court, the court drops the charges, enabling the teen to emerge without a criminal record.  Unfortunately, the system does not go out of its way to direct young defendants to drug court, which is just one of many reasons that it pays to hire a lawyer in juvenile cases.

Contact FL Drug Defense Group About Juvenile Drug Possession Cases

A Central Florida criminal defense lawyer can help you if your teenage son or daughter is being charged with drug possession in juvenile court.  Contact FL Drug Defense Group in Orlando, Florida to discuss your case.




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