Juvenile drug court is a way for teenagers ages 14 to 17 to get drug related charges dismissed. Since harsh penalties usually follow any conviction for drug offenses in Florida, it is almost always in your best interest to get your case moved to juvenile drug court.
After completing a six-month treatment program, your charges will be dismissed instead of going on your criminal record as a criminal conviction or adjudication of juvenile delinquency.
West Palm Beach Juvenile Drug Possession Defense Lawyer
Florida drug crime convictions, or adjudications of juvenile delinquency, can result in jail time. Your child could even be sentenced to years in state prison.
Additionally, having a criminal record of any sort can severely limit your opportunities for the rest of your life, including preventing you from getting the student aid you need to go to college. A successful defense against any drug related charge requires someone with in-depth knowledge of the Florida juvenile justice system, in particular how to get a case moved to juvenile drug court.
If your child has been arrested or caught with drugs in West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach, Delray Beach, Jupiter, or Lake Worth, immediately contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A..
Skilled and knowledgeable West Palm Beach juvenile drug possession defense attorneys Steven Bell and Lawrence Meltzer have over 20 years of combined experience. Call (561) 557-8686 today to have them review your case during a free initial consultation.
Palm Beach County Juvenile Drug Possession
If you or your child faces juvenile drug possession charges, juvenile drug court is an option that may be available to you in order to avoid a conviction or adjudication of juvenile delinquency. Participation is voluntary, but juvenile drug court is usually a much better option than a regular court trial.
It is a diversion program that gives you a way to avoid being convicted or adjudicated delinquent (the juvenile version of a criminal conviction in Florida) and successful completion will result in the charges being dismissed entirely. The county also has an incentive to send juveniles to drug court, because it is much cheaper than other juvenile delinquency correctional options. The Fifteenth Judicial Circuit’s Delinquency Drug Court (DDC) is a six-month program that targets juveniles under the age of 18 who have been arrested or charged with drug possession or related offenses in Palm Beach County.
The juvenile drug court is a three-phase program lasting a minimum of six months. Teenagers in the juvenile drug court program work with treatment providers to develop treatment plans and receive individual, group and family counseling.
Progress in the program is reviewed regularly by the Drug Court officials. Other program components include:
- Regular court appearances
- Frequent and random urinalysis
- Incentives and sanctions
- Educational support and monitoring
If you do not get your juvenile drug possession case moved to juvenile drug court, serious consequences will follow any conviction or adjudication of juvenile delinquency. If convicted or adjudicated delinquent of drug possession, you could lose your driver’s license for a full year.
You could also permanently lose access to federal student aid and other student grants and loans. You could even be tried as an adult, and end up with a permanent criminal record that will follow you for the rest of your life.
Many juveniles and parents are surprised at how easily a teenager can end up facing long jail or even prison sentences. Possession of even the tiniest amount of most drugs is a felony, and many drug convictions carry mandatory minimum sentences.
You could be arrested even for having an empty marijuana bag if trace residues remain, or you could be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia if you have cigarette rolling papers. If you are tried as an adult and convicted of selling or delivering drugs within 1,000 feet of a school, you face a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in state prison, and the possibility of spending decades in prison. Thus, it is almost always in your best interest to attempt to move your case to juvenile drug court if you are arrested for drug possession or otherwise you get in trouble with the law.
If a juvenile is caught with drugs at school or any other location, you may receive a letter days or weeks later about an intake interview, even if the juvenile was not arrested after being caught with drugs. The intake interview will help determine how your case proceeds.
If you skip the intake interview, it is very likely that a warrant will be issued for the juvenile’s arrest, or the juvenile may get a notice to appear in court. If your teenager has been arrested for drug possession, or you receive a letter about an intake interview, it is best to contact a Palm Beach County juvenile drug possession defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Palm Beach County Juvenile Drug Court Eligibility
Not all juveniles are eligible to participate in Palm Beach County’s Delinquency Drug Court program. In addition to being a Palm Beach County resident ages 14 to 17, there are four ways to become eligible to participate in the Delinquency Drug Court:
- If you have not previously been adjudicated delinquent for a felony and are charged with tampering with evidence, obtaining a prescription by fraud, or purchase, solicitation for purchase, or possession of drugs;
- If you have not previously committed a felony or participated in juvenile drug court, are charged with a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony, and have the agreement of the state attorney and victim;
- As a condition of probation; or
- If you failed to complete the school district police drug court program and the state attorney agrees to put the case in Delinquency Drug Court.
In any case, if you have previously participated in any juvenile drug court or any other diversion program for a felony, you will not be eligible to participate in the Delinquency Drug Court unless it is a special condition of your probation. Cases where the juvenile is accused of selling or possessing with intent to sell are also not eligible for Delinquency Drug Court.
Finding a Juvenile Drug Court Defense Attorney Near West Palm Beach
If your child has been arrested or otherwise caught with drugs anywhere in Palm Beach County, including West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Greenacres, Boynton Beach, or Royal Palm Beach, contact Meltzer & Bell, P.A. It is in your best interest to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Lawrence Meltzer is a former felony special unit prosecutor and Steven Bell is a former major crimes public defender. The first consultation with Meltzer & Bell, P.A. is free, so call (561) 557-8686 today and schedule your appointment.