Kids, Drugs, and the Juvenile Justice System
One of the most common criminal charges a teenager can face in the state of Texas is drug possession. In most cases, the teen may be in violation of the law without even knowing it. Parents may also not realize or be aware of how legislation applies to their children and the consequences they could face if an arrest for drug possession leads to being convicted. Under Texas law, it is illegal for anyone to be in possession of a controlled substance including marijuana and other “common” drugs.
The law defines “possession” as the “custody, care, management, or control” of an illegal substance but does not explicitly mean ownership. For example, if a teen’s friend asks him or her to “hold on” to the friend’s marijuana for a period of time and law enforcement catches the teen with the drugs, the teen can still be charged with possession even though they do not technically own the drugs. Since no one can legally own a controlled substance, law enforcement focuses on who is in possession of it.
Additionally, teens who are in the presence of illegal drugs but are not aware of their presence can also be charged with possession. If a teen is riding in a friend’s car and the friend is pulled over while hiding an illegal drug in the glovebox, the teen can be charged with possession if the drug was found in close proximity to him or her even if he or she did not know it was being stored in the vehicle.
Possession of Prescription Drugs in Texas
It is also important to keep in mind that the definition of a controlled substance is broader than most people believe. While marijuana and cocaine are obvious controlled substances, prescription drugs are also considered a controlled substance – teenagers often illegally use and sell prescription drugs to make money. If a teen takes a family member’s or friend’s prescribed drugs and attempts to resell them, he or she could face serious criminal charges that could have consequences that affect his or her future.
Children – those under the age of 17 – who are arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance in the state of Texas are subject to the juvenile justice system. In this state, the court focuses more on rehabilitating teens rather than punishing them. In most cases, a first time drug possession charge does not result in detention or jail time but instead some form of rehab.
Taryn J. White is a legal research specialist and DUI law news reporter. Her current accomplishments include helping those facing any driving under the influence arrest charges, get free online assistance in learning how to fight a DUI case for the best possible outcome.