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Juvenile Drug Crimes

Teens tend not to make the most informed decisions. Their youth can sometimes lead them to believe they’re invincible from anything, including the law. The state of Iowa, however, would have to disagree. Minors also the face consequences of violating state laws such as selling or possessing drugs.

In 2016, Iowa’s Office of Drug Control Policy released a report which detailed substance and alcohol abuse among teens. The report showed alcohol abuse had dropped nearly 10 percent in the last ten years, but the consumption of marijuana and other drugs is steadily on the rise. This means authorities are on the alert for drugged teens more than ever.

A conviction on a minor’s record can be life-altering. Educational institutions and future employers could easily access their charges easily with a background check. One event could affect you or your child’s ability to attend college, obtain scholarships or pursue a career.

Don’t agonize over what to do. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug crime as a minor, it’s imperative you gain legal representation.

Attorney for Drug Crimes by Minors in West Des Moines, IA

It’s a myth that minors get light sentences when they’re convicted of a crime. The penalties for a drug crime by a minor are incredibly serious. The judge could sentence you or your child to drug abuse treatment, a court program, community service and require you to pay restitution costs. This doesn’t even include the social cost a conviction could have on your professional, educational and personal goals.

The attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. excel at all types of juvenile crimes. We understand how stressful it can be to juggle criminal charges as a minor. That is why we’re committed to providing you with the best quality legal service available. Call us now at (515) 279-9700 to set up a free consultation today.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. represents people throughout the Polk County area including Polk City, Ankeny, Adel, West Des Moines and Runnells.

Overview of Juvenile Drug Offenses in Iowa


Drug Offenses by Minors in Iowa

Drug laws apply to minors just as much as adults. It’s illegal in Iowa to possess, manufacture or deliver a controlled substance. The severity of the crime is based on the schedule of the drug. Iowa has five schedules with schedule 1 having the highest potential of abuse.

For instance, cocaine and methamphetamines would be found under drug schedule 1. Drugs that have a low potential for addiction would be found under drug schedule 5 such as certain cough syrups and pseudoephedrine (otherwise known as Sudafed).

Listed below are drug crimes in the state of Iowa.

  • Possession of a Controlled Substance – It’s unlawful to possess a controlled substance or imitation of that substance without authorization. The law states you can be in actual or constructive possession of a drug. Actual possession is when the substance is on your person, while constructive is when the drug is under your complete control. For example, if the drug was in a locked box and you had the key you’d be in constructive possession.
  • Drug Trafficking or Selling – Selling, transferring or trafficking a controlled substance without the proper credentials is a crime. Trafficking a controlled substance is when you transport it across county or state lines. Selling drugs for a profit would also be considered drug trafficking. The penalties for drug trafficking depend on the quantity of drugs and the schedule they’re under. Typically, a drug trafficking offense will carry heavier penalties than simple possession.
  • Drug Manufacturing – Creating or manufacturing drugs is also a violation of the law. Manufacturing drugs is the actual creation of the controlled substance itself. For example, grow houses and meth labs would be considered a type of drug manufacturing. Iowa has specific manufacturing laws for the controlled substance methamphetamine or meth. The penalties may be enhanced further if you manufactured methamphetamine or delivered it to another child.

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Penalties for Juvenile Drug Crimes in Iowa

The justice system handles minors differently than adults. Your case will be heard in juvenile delinquency court, and the penalties will not be as harsh as those handed down in standard court.

The majority of juvenile delinquency proceedings begin with the filing of a delinquency petition.

This petition will lead to an adjudicatory hearing if you don’t admit to your charges. From there the court will decide if you committed the crime or not. If the court concludes you did not commit the drug crime, then you’ll be adjudicated as a delinquent. They will then have a disposition hearing to determine your penalties.

There’s no guarantee of what your penalties will be. Juvenile court doesn’t follow the same statutory guidelines as traditional court. You could face any combination of the following consequences for a drug crime:

  • Drug Counseling and Treatment – It’s the focus of juvenile court to rehabilitate teens back into society. So, you may be court-ordered into a treatment and counseling program. The program may include a preliminary assessment beforehand.
  • Probation – Some minors are sentenced to a form of probation for the crime. Essentially, they must follow the conditions listed in their probation to avoid juvenile detention. These conditions are typically associated with good behaviors such as maintaining a job or attending school regularly.
  • Restitution – You may be court ordered to pay restitution if anyone suffered financial or physical losses from the crime. The restitution could go to the victim or to Iowa’s Victim Compensation Program. The court will determine the payment amount and schedule.
  • Community Service – The court may require you to complete a certain number of community service hours. The court must approve the venue where you perform community service.
  • Diversion Programs – Juvenile court offers pretrial diversion or informal probation programs for minors with drug crimes. The program will have specific rules you must follow if you want to avoid detention. Diversion programs are similar to probation, but you don’t have to attend court regularly. Completion of the program will result in the dismissal of your charges.
  • Detention – It’s rare, but sometimes the court will order you to detention. Detention doesn’t necessarily mean a juvenile detention facility. Some people are sentenced to home confinement or they’re placed in a juvenile home.

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Additional Resources

Juvenile Delinquency Proceedings – Visit the official website of the Polk County Attorney to find more information about the juvenile delinquency process. Access the site to learn about the stages of delinquency court, possible outcomes of a case and more.

Drug Schedules – Visit the official website for Iowa’s Board of Pharmacy to learn more about controlled substance schedules. Access the site to learn which drugs belong under which schedule, what controlled substances have a high potential for addiction and more.


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Lawyer for Juvenile Drug Offenses in Polk County, Iowa

If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug offense, it’s imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. Drug charges could hinder you or your child’s plan for the future. Stay ahead of these charges and contact McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C..

The attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. are experienced in both juvenile and traditional criminal courts. We are passionate about defending others and we want to help you. Contact us now at (515) 279-9700 to set up a free consultation. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. accepts clients throughout Dallas County and Polk County including Dexter, Polk City, Adel, West Des Moines and Perry.