Juvenile Drug Possession Lawyer in Atlanta, GA
Atlanta Criminal Lawyer Helping Young People Challenge Charges
High school students in the United States have reported that about 17% of their classmates use drugs, drink alcohol and smoke during the school day, according to a study released in 2012 by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Furthermore, 52% of the survey respondents said they know of a place on or near school campus where students go to use drugs during the school day.
High school students are often portrayed as individuals who are ready to get into trouble and experiment with drugs. In some cases, juveniles make mistakes, not realizing they are placing their entire futures at risk. In other cases, young people are subject to false allegations and stereotypes, which can also negatively affect their lives if they are found guilty of crimes they didn't commit. In either situation, it is best to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced drug crime lawyer who will be able to help the juvenile do everything possible protect his or her rights and future.
When a juvenile is accused of possessing illegal drugs—or legal drugs for which they do not have legal prescriptions—they can be at risk of receiving various penalties, such as time in juvenile detention facilities and fines). They can also obtain criminal records that will follow them into adulthood. Criminal records can lead to future difficulty getting into the colleges and jobs of their choice. Learn more about how drug possession charges can affect juveniles in the state of Georgia and how an Atlanta criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of Matthew T. McNally can help.
Georgia Laws Regarding Juvenile Drug Possession
Once a juvenile commits an offense that can be considered a crime, a petition alleging delinquency can be filed against the young person. In the state of Georgia, juveniles are defined as individuals under the age of 17. This juvenile will then be required to appear in juvenile court, where it will ultimately be determined whether he or she will be adjudicated (similar to conviction for adults) and/or penalized. Oftentimes, juveniles who are found guilty of an offense can receive alternatives to juvenile detention, such as probation and an order to participate in special programs.
In the state of Georgia, it is illegal to possess certain drugs. These can include drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine and illegally obtained prescription drugs, among other controlled substances. Adults who are found guilty of illegal drug possession can potentially receive sentences that include years of imprisonment, along with many other costly and damaging penalties. The severity of the penalties upon conviction depends on the type of drug, the amount of the drug possessed, the offender's previous criminal history and various other factors related to the alleged offense. Possession of any drug listed under Schedule I or Schedule II under Georgia's drug laws is automatically categorized as a felony. These sections include drugs that are considered to be the most dangerous and addictive.
When a juvenile is found to have committed a delinquent act that would have been charged a criminal offense for an adult, he or she can potentially receive the following penalties (according to O.C.G.A. §15-11-66):
- Placement in an institution, camp or facility designed for delinquent juveniles
- Commitment to custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice
- Payment of restitution
- Community service
- Payment of other fees to the county's general fund
- Placement in a treatment or rehabilitation program
When the offense would be considered a felony if committed by an adult (or when the offense is a serious misdemeanor that involved injury or likelihood of injury to others), the court can order the juvenile to serve up 30 days in a youth development center or in a treatment program.
Obtaining Strong Legal Counsel
Attorney Matthew T. McNally is a strong criminal defense attorney who handles cases related to many different drug crimes and juvenile crimes, as well as a broad spectrum of other criminal offenses. In addition to having years of experience in his practice area, he also has the advantage of being a former prosecutor. This gives him a better understating of the opposing side in the case, giving him an advantage when he searches for weaknesses in prosecutors' allegations. If you or your child is a juvenile who was accused of a crime in the Atlanta of others parts of the state of Georgia, contact our office immediately so we can help you get the defense process started.