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New Jersey Juvenile Drug Charge Defense Lawyer

Top-Rated Defense Lawyer Defends Clients Accused of Juvenile Drug Crimes in Middlesex County, Mercer County, Union County, Ocean County, and Burlington County, NJ

Like any drug charges, the New Jersey criminal justice system takes juvenile drug charges seriously.  Juvenile drug charges are different, however, in that the courts tend to focus on rehabilitation versus punishment alone.  When a teenager or child is facing juvenile drug charges, the legal consequences must be taken seriously.

I will work closely with you and your family to seek a dismissal of the charges or minimize the consequences. The New Jersey courts certainly have the authority to impose criminal punishment in juvenile drug charge cases. The prosecution and judges also have the discretion to recommend steps aimed at rehabilitation—or to treat the minor as an adult. 

Your lawyer is your most valuable asset in building a smart defense.  As a former prosecutor, I know what to expect at each turn in your case.  Whether your child is innocent, in the wrong place at the wrong time or otherwise, I will advocate to protect their future every step of the way.

To learn more, call to schedule a free initial consultation today.

Juvenile Drug Charges: Rehabilitation versus Punishment

Juveniles convicted on drug charges (as minors) can be placed on probation or sent to a juvenile detention center and fined. Many punishments similar to those given to convicted adults.  Any adult or juvenile convicted of drug possession in New Jersey also faces up to a two year driver’s license suspension. This applies regardless of whether a motor vehicle was involved. The type of punishment imposed in juvenile cases, however, is often a judgment call.  Judges and prosecutors balance the importance of rehabilitation with the need to hold juveniles accountable.

This makes your defense lawyer’s job especially important. Character letters, evidence of counseling, and other mitigating evidence can help a case tremendously.  The more I know, the better equipped I am to build the best defense for you.

Depending upon the facts of your case, the prosecutor may be inclined to accept a combination of alternatives to conviction. A “deferred disposition” is the most common form this takes.  A deferred disposition is a dismissal that follows a probationary period. That probation can also include special conditions that must be met. They include: 

  • Drug or alcohol abuse counseling
  • Anger management programs
  • General emotional counseling
  • Vocational and educational programs
  • Community service
  • Mentoring programs
  • Probation compliance. 

Judges and the prosecution also have leeway to consider extenuating factors and circumstances in your case.  Facts that can influence a judge’s ruling include:

  • Your age
  • Performance in school
  • Your openness to rehab or counseling
  • Prior criminal history (or lack thereof) 

I have a great deal of experience defending juvenile drug charges.  Cases can be dismissed based on search and other factual issues. As your child’s defense lawyer, I will explore every option to frame your situation as deserving of a chance to avoid a criminal conviction.

Drug Possession Under NJSA 2C:35-10 & Juvenile Charges

Drug possession—including simple possession of marijuana—is one of the most common juvenile drug charges.  NJSA 2C:35-10 applies to both adults and minors.  Like an adult, the severity of the juvenile drug charge depends largely upon the amount and type of drug involved, and what the minor was doing with the drugs.  A juvenile can be charged with:

  • Simple possession of (50 grams or less) of marijuana, which is a disorderly persons offense
  • Marijuana possession of over 50 grams. This is a fourth-degree crime
  • Possession of CDS: less than an ounce of cocaine, ecstasy, or heroin. These carry third-degree charges.
  • Possession of more than one ounce of cocaine or heroin, which is a second-degree crime

If the possession charges were levied within 1,000 feet of a school—or any type of property used for school purposes, an additional sentence of at least 100 hours of community service will be added to the punishment.

Arrested on Juvenile Drug Charges?  Call Today to Discuss Defense Options

It is a mistake to believe that drug charges don’t have to be taken as seriously if the defendant is a juvenile.  An adjudication of delinquency can have significant consequences for a minor and in some cases jeopardize their future. 

I have successfully helped hundreds of clients in cases just like yours.  Schedule a free consultation to discuss defense options in your case.  You can call my office or contact us online

Frequently Asked Questions About Juvenile Drug Charges

FAQ: Will my child have a criminal record if convicted on juvenile drug charges?

Not in the usual form, but a record will exist.  The term used by the courts is “adjudicated delinquent”, rather than “convicted”, although the two are often used interchangeably.  If adjudicated delinquent, your child will have a juvenile record that can be accessed by others in certain situations (for example, by a school).  That record can be expunged at some point in the future, although it can still create problems along the way.  I can also petition to have the juvenile records sealed.  To discuss defense options or the possibility of expunging or sealing an existing record, call my office for a free case review.

FAQ: My child was arrested on juvenile drug charges. The drugs were only in the car, not actually on her.  Can the prosecution convict of drug possession?

Yes.  Both actual and constructive principles apply in drug possession cases.  Actual possession, obviously, means your child had the drugs on their person.  Constructive possession means that the following are true:
– Your child knew the drugs were there
– Your child had the ability and intention to exercise control over the drugs
Finding drugs in a vehicle is a common example of constructive drug possession.  Even if it was not your child’s car, every person in the vehicle can be charged.

Rating Methodology

Charges Dismissed

Criminal Offense

Charges Reversed

Jail Sentence

Charges Reduced


Charges Dismissed

Criminal Offense

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    “Mr. Vecchio was very thorough and efficient. His team was accommodating and the ultimate outcome was better than expected. Mr. Vecchio kept me up to date with every detail via emails and text messages. An all around good guy and family man.”
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