Drug charges and property crimes can both have serious penalties for those facing such charges. There is, however, one factor that can significantly alter the entire nature of criminal cases like these: when the defendants are juveniles.
A recent example can be found in a case from just east of Morristown. Police were on patrol in the early morning hours when they claim to have spotted a Jeep with three people stopped in a park. They decided to run the plates and allegedly found that they belonged to a Volkswagen. At that point, police approached the vehicle and reportedly found three teenagers — two 16-year-old boys and a 15-year-old-girl — with a small amount of marijuana in a baggie and other drug paraphernalia.
Police released the girl to her family without filing charges, but the young boys face charges related to curfew violation, as well as drug charges. One of them is also facing charges in connection with the Jeep itself, which had been reported as stolen. The youth facing accusations of receiving stolen property is being held in the county youth detention center, while the other was handed over to family members.
When any young defendant is charged with juvenile crimes, the next step is to have a Family Court hearing. This affords them certain protections that they would not otherwise have in the adult legal system. For one thing, records are kept confidential in accordance with the law. Greater attention is also paid to any surrounding circumstances that may have led up to the alleged crime.
Sentencing in the juvenile law system is also handled differently, although just like adults, juveniles have the right to legal representation when defending themselves against the charges. A legal professional with experience in this type of case can help ensure juvenile defendants fair treatment in family court.