The last post on our Morristown criminal defense law blog talked about the serious matter of drug distribution charges. A recent police raid in a town just northwest of us highlights the unique and complicated situation of a drug bust when a juvenile is allegedly involved.
Local police began to investigate a certain residence after neighbors complained that too many people were visiting for short intervals and then leaving again. Eventually a search warrant was obtained and, with K-9 support, police allegedly found marijuana growing, drug paraphernalia and an assortment of counterfeit bills. Four individuals at the residence were arrested; the charges included drug possession and distribution, and the U.S. Secret Service was alerted to the allegedly counterfeit currency.
Notably, one of the arrests was a juvenile. The 17-year-old was also charged with possession of marijuana and sent to Morris County Juvenile Detention Center.
One may reasonably question, in a situation like this, whether a teenager truly understood what kind of operation was allegedly taking place. And even then, young people commonly fail to take into account the potential long-term consequences of certain actions. Recognizing these realities, New Jersey has options like Juvenile Conference Committee to allow juvenile crimes to be resolved out of court.
Unfortunately, however, prosecutors here in Morris County and throughout New Jersey will often seek a waiver to have a juvenile tried as an adult. A legal professional can help discuss the defense of a young person in this situation and fight to keep the matter within the juvenile law system.