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In New Jersey, juvenile drug offenses are very serious and should never be taken lightly. If you are charged with a drug offense as a juvenile, you could be faced with a juvenile record as well as strict penalties. A juvenile drug charge can endanger your future in many ways if not dealt with under the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
If you need to defend a juvenile drug charge in New Jersey, contact Team Law today so we can help with your case.
Being Charged With A Juvenile Drug Charge And Have Questions? We Can Help, Tell Us What Happened.
New Jersey does not treat juveniles as adults
In New Jersey, juvenile drug charges are treated differently than adult drug charges. Absent evidence that the juvenile was distributing drugs or had an intent to do so (which can be a much more serious situation with dire consequences) it will be a juvenile rather than an adult proceeding.
Juvenile drug possession in New Jersey
NJSA 2C:35-10 governs juvenile drug possession in New Jersey.
This statute applies to both juveniles and adults, though judges in juvenile cases are given much more latitude to set an appropriate punishment for a juvenile.
As is the case with adults, juvenile drug possession in New Jersey can range from a third degree to a first degree offense.
The least serious is a third degree offense, which can include possession of less than one ounce of any Schedule I or II controlled dangerous substance, (most commonly cocaine or heroin).
To become a second degree offense, this generally involves possession of more than one ounce of a Schedule I or II substance.
To become a first degree offense, it involves the possession of five ounces or more of heroin or methamphetamine.
In a juvenile drug case in New Jersey, the judge has significant latitude in determining the appropriate sentence.
The judge will consider a wide range of factors, which generally include any past criminal record, how old the defendant was at the time the crime was committed, and how open the defendant is to seeking rehabilitation for their behavior and drug use.
While juveniles may serve a sentence involving detainment, a judge can also order hours of community service, drug rehabilitation treatment, or even probation.
The stronger a case a defendant in a juvenile drug case can put together for the judge, the better the end result may be. Evidence of motivation to change their path in life and strong support systems in place to help them do so have the possibility to sway the court to a lesser sentence.
If you or a family member has been charged with a juvenile drug crime in New Jersey you need to act quickly to allow yourself as much time as possible to build a viable defense to the charges. Contact Team Law today and we will fight for your rights as an individual accused of a serious crime.
No. Family Court is the venue for juvenile drug cases in New Jersey, as it is where all cases involving juvenile delinquency are held. This is not to suggest that potential penalties for a juvenile drug case might not be severe, as they often are.
Absolutely. If a defendant is sincere and can communicate their genuine willingness to go into drug rehabilitation to a judge, this has the potential to affect the severity of the sentence. For repeat offenders, this becomes a more difficult and nuanced argument, which is why it is always important to have experienced legal counsel deafening you on a juvenile drug charge.
Being convicted of a juvenile drug charge in New Jersey can have a lasting and profound impact on your future. You may be barred from entering the military or denied entrance to certain colleges if you have been found guilty of a juvenile drug offense.
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Criminal Defense Information Center