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Penalties for Juveniles Charged with Drug Possession

Any time a child is charged with drug or paraphernalia possession, he or she faces harsh penalties. However, the process for prosecuting juvenile crimes is quite different than those followed in adult criminal courts. Even though the crime is the same, juveniles face different penalties, and courts have many more options for how they approach these issues.

The following are some of the potential penalties faced by juveniles charged with drug possession:

  • Counseling: Juvenile courts focus on attempting to rehabilitate offenders as much as possible. Thus, one of the main types of sentences is an order for the offender and his or her parents to attend drug counseling sessions. The court selects the counselor and closely tracks the offender’s attendance.
  • Probation: Juveniles may be placed on probation for possession charges, just as adults can. The child must comply with the specific terms of the probation. The child will likely be forced to attend school, participate in counseling sessions, perform certain types of community service and meet a variety of other requirements. Probation usually lasts six months, but the exact length of the term will be clearly spelled out in court.
  • Detention: In severe, rare circumstances, courts may force juveniles into detention facilities. If such a facility is not a legitimate option, courts may also other similar penalties such as home confinement, placement into a foster family or new guardian, or placement within a home for troubled youth. Detention is typically not considered an option unless the child is a repeat offender or had other aggravating factors present and is usually reserved for more serious offenses.

To learn more about what your family should do when a child is facing juvenile drug charges, meet with knowledgeable Berks County criminal defense attorney David R. Eshelman.

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