Most Virginia residents do not take juvenile crimes as seriously as those committed by adults, as the repercussions of juvenile cases are generally short-lived. Even though this assumption is largely true, there nonetheless exist countless juvenile crimes that come with lasting consequences.
When it comes to marijuana possession, even a small amount can create issues that extend well beyond an individual’s teenage years. Depending on the case, a charge for marijuana possession can remain on records available to colleges and future employers. Although the nation’s laws regarding the drug are slowly shifting, penalties still apply to juvenile charges, and those penalties can last for a lifetime.
Strict Penalties Still Apply
According to Washington’s Top News, Virginia is not exempt from the legal changes involving marijuana in the country. In fact, the Virginia General Assembly is considering a legislation that would loosen penalties for possessing marijuana. This change is major, considering that in a typical case, an individual charged with possession would automatically lose their driver’s license. However, this potential change would only apply to adults — juveniles would still lose their license if found in possession of marijuana. Yet most states do not revoke drivers’ licenses for mere possession, and many Virginia lawmakers claim that such a penalty still exists because of the outdated “war on drugs” that swept across the country decades ago.
Room for Change?
The Charlottesville Task Force on Disproportionate Minority Contact provides a handbook on juvenile crimes and according penalties. When a juvenile is caught possessing marijuana in Virginia, the officer involved must notify the superintendent of the juvenile’s school division of the crime. These crimes often include a written summons, which reveals the specifics of juvenile’s charges. All juveniles must report to court at the exact date and time of the written summons; if an individual fails to appear in court on the required date, police may enforce juvenile detention. These measures do not indicate any change in juvenile possession laws, but the nation’s general shift in attitudes regarding marijuana may leave room for change in future laws.