The Penalties for Minors Charged With Marijuana Possession in NJ
While the state of New Jersey pushes for the decriminalization of marijuana, it will continue to be an illegal offense for individuals under the age of 18. Whether New Jersey enacts decriminalization laws or makes marijuana legal, minors could still face significant charges if convicted of a drug crime.
If your child is facing marijuana possession or intent to distribute charges, it is important to know what potential consequences they could face.
Potential Marijuana Penalties for Juveniles in New Jersey
Minors who are convicted with a marijuana drug charge in the state of New Jersey face the following:
- Possession of marijuana, less than 50-grams: Less than 50-grams of marijuana is considered possession, meaning that the intent is for recreational use. While this is still illegal in New Jersey, it often carries reduced fines and legal charges than when compared with possession with an intent to distribute.
- Possession with the intent to deliver: Possession with the intent to deliver, or distribute, is a harsher charge. It claims that the individual has marijuana in possession with an intent to distribute, or sell, it.
Each type of drug charge carries different sentencing and legal fine guidelines. Each case is different and many factors dictate the recommended guidelines.
New Jersey’s Adjudicated Delinquent Charges
Whereas adult offenders are either found to be guilty or not guilty, the state does not give guilty charges to juveniles. Instead, if the minor is found to be guilty of the charges, then they are classified as adjudicated delinquent.
Adjudicated delinquent means that the judge determines which penalties are most appropriate based on:
- Prior record
- Amount of drug in possession
- Type of drug
- Whether the individual was using recreationally or intended to sell
This also means that minors have a better chance of having their charges either reduced, or dropped entirely. Many judges recognize the impact of criminal drug charges on a minor’s record. They also recognize that criminal charges could affect the rest of their life, including difficulties in finding employment or taking out student loans for college.
Additionally, adjudicated delinquent status does not usually require jail. Instead of sending a minor to jail, where it could be more difficult to overcome their mistake, they may spend some time in a juvenile facility. Others may be able to work out a period of probation in lieu of detention time.
It is important to note that individuals who are facing higher degrees of charges, such as a large amount of marijuana in possession, or evidence against them for selling the marijuana, could potentially face adult charges. This is especially true if the individual is almost 18 years at the time of the arrest.
Work With an Experienced Juvenile Marijuana Drug Defender
If you or your child is facing criminal drug charges, it is crucial that you discuss your case with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. By working with a criminal defense lawyer who is familiar with New Jerseys’ laws, you can evaluate your defense options. Don’t let one mistake ruin the rest of your child’s life.
Contact an Experienced Burlington County Drug Defense Attorney About Your Marijuana Drug Crime Charges in New Jersey
Has your child been charged with a drug related offense in New Jersey? A drug crime conviction can carry with it heavy fines, jail time, and driver’s license suspension! That is why it is imperative that you speak with a qualified juvenile drug crime lawyer about your case. Gelman Law represents clients charged with drug use, possession, production, distribution, and related drug offenses in Cherry Hill, Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 474-1450 or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office located at 1940 W Rte 70, Suite 4, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.