Orange County Juvenile Drug Crime Defense Lawyer
Legal Representation for Underage Defendants
A conviction of a misdemeanor or felony drug crime can have serious ramifications for anyone’s life, especially for a young adult. It can affect all avenues of their future, from their ability to seek a higher education, apply for a job, or secure an apartment or home. However, not all juvenile drug crimes have to end in a serious conviction, especially if you have the legal representation of an attorney who thoroughly understands the Californian judicial system.
If your child is charged with a drug crime in Orange County, contact the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti. Our Orange County juvenile drug defense attorney is a member of the Nation's Top Attorneys and has successfully advocated for lighter sentences or complete the complete dismissal of charges for minors. Secure a firm defense case today by calling (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999.
Juvenile Drug Crimes
While California’s drug laws have changed drastically in the past few decades, there are still strict laws regarding minors and drugs. Beyond prescription and over-the-counter medication, it is illegal for any individual to possess or distribute:
In addition, marijuana is legal for personal use for anyone 21-years or older, but minors can still be charged with possession. The California courts may also charge juveniles if they illegally acquire, use, or distribute prescription pain medications like OxyContin or Vicodin. But how the court responds to a juvenile drug crime depends on the circumstances of each case and the severity of the crime.
How California Courts Treat Juvenile Defendants
Generally, if your child is caught with illegal drugs in their possession or trafficking illegal drugs, then they will be charged in the California juvenile court system with delinquency, which is heavily focused on rehabilitation and deterring future criminal behavior when compared to the adult court system. It is rare for the prosecution or judge to try a minor as an adult for a drug crime and this option is only available for minors between the ages of 14- to 17-years-old.
Unless the prosecution requests a fitness hearing to determine if your child should be tried in juvenile or adult court, they will likely face significantly fewer penalties than an adult would for similar crimes. For possession of marijuana, a minor may only receive a warning or rehabilitation. However, if charged with transporting heroin for a local gang, they could face incarceration at a juvenile detention center. While this is significantly lighter sentence than if they were tried in an adult court, your child still has a right to a fair trial with proper representation and should not be denied the chance to accept a lighter sentencing if is available to them.
We all understand the risks of drug addiction for young adults and the factors that contribute to it. Numerous PSA’s have been produced anti-drug campaigns explain the dangers of substance abuse, peer pressure, and other factors that contribute to addiction in young adults. That is why the juvenile court system is based around rehabilitation, most sentencings for possession will involve some form of rehabilitation or counseling to prevent future substance abuse issues. For intent to sell or trafficking, the court may sentence a minor to a juvenile detention center, depending on the severity of the charges, their history of criminal behavior, and whether the court determines that they have a certain level of criminal sophistication. This why it is imperative to have an experienced OC juvenile defense attorney at their side to advocate for alternative sentences, which can include:
- Counseling or therapy
- Community service
- Electronic monitoring or house arrest
These programs allow your child to continue with their education, be engaged in extracurricular activities, prepare for college, and live a relatively normal life while serving their sentence. In addition, it may be possible to have the charges dismissed or expunged upon completion of the program.
Defenses Against Juvenile Drug Charges
While advocating for an alternative sentence can be an important part of your child’s case, that is not the only option available. Just like the adult court system, juveniles courts operate under the requirements that the prosecution prove your child committed a drug-related crime beyond a reasonable down. Because of this, your attorney can employ several defenses to get the charges dismissed or reach a verdict of not guilty by demonstrating:
- Your child was wrongfully convicted
- Your child was not aware that the substance they possessed was an illegal drug
- An angry classmate or peer framed your child
- The prosecution only has circumstantial evidence
- The witness statements are unreliable or inconsistent
The laws regarding possession, intent to sell, and trafficking are the same for juveniles as they are for adults, and many of the same techniques an attorney would utilize to fight these charges can be employed.
Advocating for Your Child’s Future
As a parent, you want what’s best for your child. You do your best to provide for them, to guide them, and to help them make the right decisions. But you cannot fully control your child’s actions and you are likely in shock after finding out they were charged with a drug crime. Maybe there was peer pressure involved, maybe they wanted to show off to a local gang. Either way, there is still hope to curb future criminal behavior and get your child’s life back on track. But to do that, you need the aid of a skilled attorney who understands the California juvenile court system.
If your child is facing a drug charge, do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti to get in touch with an Orange County drug crime defense attorney. Our lead attorney can explain what options are available to your child, negotiate with the prosecution for a dismissal or lighter sentence, and defend them in a juvenile court. Call (714) 530-9690 or toll-free at (888) 478-8999 to ensure your child’s rights are protected in an Orange County court.
Whether you're facing a felony or a misdemeanor, don't risk a conviction. Act quickly to redeem your reputation and protect your record by consulting with our Orange County criminal defense lawyer. Call today to schedule your free consultation.