If your child has been arrested and charged with drug possession charges in Rhode Island, the first rule of thumb is to not panic. It can be scary to think of your child ruining their future because of one mistake, but with the right legal support, you can fight juvenile drug possession charges. Let’s explore a few key considerations when searching for the right way to move forward with your child’s case.
Contact a Juvenile Defense Lawyer As Soon As Possible
Learning that your child has been arrested and charged with a crime can be devastating news for parents. Not only do you fear the worst for your child’s future, but it’s also stressful and confusing to try to navigate the juvenile justice system. Even though you’re faced with this difficult legal challenge, remember that your child has rights and there are lawyers out there that are skilled in juvenile drug possession charges that can help. As soon as you’re notified about your child’s charges, it’s imperative to speak with a Rhode Island drug possession lawyer as soon as possible.
A juvenile defense lawyer that has experience in drug possession charges can help you see the case with a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective. They can explain all of the possible ways to fight juvenile drug possession charges. For example, they can speak with your child about the way in which law enforcement discovered the drugs in their possession in the first place. Search and seizure laws need to be taken seriously, and if a police officer violated these laws, it’s possible that the case could be dismissed. This is just one of the angles that a juvenile defense lawyer will explore when fighting juvenile drug possession charges. They can also investigate the case, interview witnesses, and discover new evidence that can present a positive outcome for your child. The goal is to never give up or simply allow your child to become another lost cause in the juvenile justice system. There are options and a juvenile defense lawyer can help present them to you and your family at this difficult time.
Advise Your Child to Not Speak to Anyone About the Charges
As you can probably imagine, being arrested for drug possession as a minor can be a confusing and intimidating process. If this is your child’s first time getting into legal trouble, they might feel scared or even threatened by law enforcement. Because drug charges happen more often than not, police officers will sometimes cut corners or force confessions out of minors to move them to the next phase of the juvenile system. As soon as you speak to your child after they’ve been charged with drug possession, advise them to not speak to any officers about the case, what happened, or if the drugs did belong to them or not. Your lawyer will also advise them to refrain from speaking to anyone about the case. They have a right to remain silent for a reason. They could say something to a friend, neighbor, or teacher that could present a problem for them in the near future. A vital step in fighting juvenile drug possession charges is to only speak with parents and their lawyer about the details of their case.
Collect as Much Information as Possible
Your lawyer will want to collect as much information as possible about your child’s case. Where did it take place? Who was involved? What prompted the search and seizure? What type of drug was it and how much was found in their possession? Were there any witnesses around at the time? Did the law enforcement officers make your child feel scared or threatened at the time of their arrest? They’ll also want to know more about your child’s criminal history and if they’ve been in a situation like this before. If this is your child’s first offense, and they have good ethical standings in their community (volunteer work, academic awards, members of non-profit organizations), it can help their case. While a great academic record and no previous arrests can help, it’s also important to remember that these details won’t necessarily make this problem go away. Overall, the more information that your lawyer has, the easier it is for them to defend your child.
Speak to Your Lawyer About Diversion Programs
The state of Rhode Island has diversion programs, which is when a minor is “diverted” to social services, such as counseling or a rehabilitation program, after they’re charged with a crime. This is an alternative option to the juvenile justice system. Most parents prefer this to the juvenile justice system, which is more likely to present harsher penalties and punishments for drug possession. In some diversion cases, your child may be judged before a committee of community members rather than a judge and jury. To learn more about these programs and if your child might benefit from this path, be sure to bring this up with your drug possession lawyer.