It may feel like your worst nightmare is coming true: you get a call that your underage son or daughter has been arrested on drug possession or drug use charges. Even possession of prescription drugs that are commonly prescribed to many teenagers today, such as Adderall, can be a crime.
Juvenile drug charges are particularly delicate because as a minor, your child will go through the juvenile justice system. This system is different from the adult criminal justice system and requires a qualified attorney who understands the unique challenges of a juvenile drug charge, as well as how to provide a strategic defense. There are certain mistakes you should avoid if your teen is facing drug charges. A criminal defense attorney can advise you properly on how to proceed. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind:
Speaking to police without legal counsel
The well-known “right to remain silent” does not only apply to adults. Teens who are arrested in the juvenile justice system and come under police custody and interrogation must be read their Miranda rights. This also includes the right to an attorney. One big mistake that teens make when they get arrested is that they speak without a lawyer present. It is important to have legal counsel to guide your teen through this process. Remaining silent can protect your teen against self-incrimination, a protection enshrined in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Hiring an attorney without juvenile justice experience
The juvenile justice system varies greatly from the adult justice system, and as such, an attorney who practices in the juvenile justice system will be familiar with its particular requirements. If you hire an attorney who has no experience in this system, you may have an excellent attorney, but one who is unable to provide a successful defense strategy for your teen in the juvenile justice system. Do not make the mistake of hiring a legal professional who does not know how to effectively navigate in juvenile court.
When it comes your teen, protecting his or her future is a fundamental concern. You must ensure that you provide your teen with the best possible defense to pave the way for a clean record and a crime-free path forward. Consult with a qualified attorney to understand the charges your teen is facing and how to proceed.