Did you know that law enforcement arrests more than 1 million Americans each year for drug possession? Many of these arrests are juveniles who have lost their way.
The United States legal system strives to give juveniles a fresh start. It emphasizes rehabilitation over long-term incarceration.
Read on to learn the difference between felony and juvenile drug possession charges. Explore relevant topics such as how youth offenders are treated and what court proceedings look like for America’s troubled youth.
What Is a Felony Drug Possession Charge?
A felony is a criminal offense that is more serious in nature. The legal system considers felonies more severe than a misdemeanor charge.
When a defendant is found guilty of a felony offense, they face the real possibility of jail time. In the worst cases, a guilty verdict on a felony charge can lead to the death penalty.
Each state has a different legal code. In terms of drug charges, the state government may classify possession of certain drugs as a felony offense. For example, heroin and crack cocaine likely fall in the felony category.
The state government also sets a weight for drug possession. Carrying more than a set number of grams triggers a more serious charge.
There are other factors at play for a felony offense. Did law enforcement determine that there was an intent to distribute the drug? Did the defendant know they were in possession of the drug?
A drug charge defense lawyer can help you with these variables. They will review your case and use their experience to help exonerate you or secure a more lenient sentencing.
What Is the Difference Between Juvenile Drug Possession Charges?
Juvenile drug possession involves a minor instead of a legal adult. The legal age for an adult is 18 years old. However, some states will attempt to classify a younger defendant as a legal adult.
Youth offenders will go through their court proceedings in the juvenile court system. Also, sentencing for a juvenile is going to be less severe than for an adult. The state’s primary goal is to rehabilitate the minor and reintegrate them into society.
Instead of jail, minors may be sent to a juvenile detention center. They will be collocated with other troubled minors. These centers are safer and less intimidating than a traditional penitentiary.
Most importantly, juveniles receive educational instruction and learn work skills. They have access to medical professionals who can help them with psychological or mental issues. The goal is to get them back on track and make for a smooth transition back into the community.
Your Guide to Felony and Juvenile Drug Charges
You now have a better understanding of felony and juvenile drug charges. The primary difference is that juveniles receive more leniency as they are minors.
The legal system views them as making a mistake and does not want to give up on them becoming contributing members of society. If you enjoyed this article about the difference between felony and juvenile drug possession charges, check out our law blog for more great content.