Timothy O. McCalep

Don't let drug possession charges ruin your child's life

High school and college are often times when children grow by experimenting and making mistakes. Typically, these mistakes have short-term consequences that help inform better decision-making in the future. In some cases, like when students get arrested for drug possession, those small mistakes can impact the rest of the person's life.

Decriminalization and legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use has led to more teenagers and college students viewing use of the drug as "no big deal." Students may have to learn the hard way that law enforcement doesn't feel the same way.

Getting arrested for possession of drugs, whether it's marijuana or something like Molly, can change your student's future forever. Drug charges in Georgia carry serious consequences, including jail time, fines and a long-term criminal record. The best way to help your child is to take drug possession as seriously as the state will. Don't assume that the courts will show mercy because your child is a young offender. Your child could end up as an "example" meant to deter other students from experimenting with drugs in the future.

Criminal records can haunt young people forever

While there are few long-term medical implications of experimenting with drugs in a safe environment, there are potentially devastating long-term legal consequences. Pleading guilty to a drug crime could result in no jail time, but it still results in a criminal record. A criminal record that includes a drug offense, even a misdemeanor possession charge, could completely change your child's future. Employers look unfavorably at any kind of criminal records, especially one that involves drugs. Landlords are also known to deny rental contracts to those with criminal records related to drugs.

As if that wasn't bad enough, possession of even the smallest amount of an illegal substance could destroy your child's potential for college. Federal student aid laws are very strict when it comes to drug convictions. Your child will not be able to receive federal student aid at all if there is a drug offense on his or her criminal record. In some cases, the record could be expunged in a few years, but until then, financing and aid for college could become a major issue.

An attorney can protect your child's future

Working with an experienced Georgia defense lawyer is your child's best hope after a drug-related arrest. Your attorney can help mount a solid defense. In some cases, your child could have been arrested because of a profiling incident. Other times, the chain of custody for evidence wasn't handled properly, meaning an attorney can have the evidence thrown out of court.

It may even be possible for your lawyer to have the charges reduced to something that isn't drug related, depending on the circumstances. Your best hope for your child's future after a drug arrest comes from working with an attorney.

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