I was at my Jacksonville law office and read an interesting news headline. The article stated that “Cigarette smoking among American teenagers dropped to a record low in 2012, a decline that may have been partly driven by a sharp hike in the federal tobacco tax.” (Chicago Tribune)
As a lawyer in Jacksonville, I have represented people with all kinds of drug charges. I have helped people that have committed Jacksonville grand theft and burglary, because of drug problems. I do not feel like drug use is on a decline. This makes me wonder if teens have swapped cigarettes for marijuana? CBS News released an article in June of 2012 stating that more teens are smoking marijuana than cigarettes. Does this mean that drug use is on the incline or cigarette use is on the decline? Maybe, it is a little bit of both. The article stated:
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday that 23 percent of high school students said they recently smoked marijuana, while 18 percent said they had puffed cigarettes. The survey asked teens about a variety of risky behaviors. For decades, the number of teens who smoke has been on the decline. Marijuana use has fluctuated, and recently rose. At times, pot and cigarette smoking were about the same level, but last year marked the first time marijuana use was clearly greater.”
The CBS article stated, “Last year marked the first time marijuana use was clearly greater.” However, I wrote a Jacksonville criminal lawyer blog article about a study showing that marijuana was more popular than cigarettes with teenagers in 2010. My Jacksonville criminal lawyer article was based on a USA Today article. USA Today reported, “more high school seniors this year used marijuana than smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days.” In the Jacksonville criminal lawyer article, I focused on the fact that teens need to understand the ramifications of smoking marijuana and Florida juvenile drug possession. Marijuana is also referred to cannabis under Florida’s drug laws. Jacksonville possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor. It is a first-degree misdemeanor, so it is punishable by up to one year in jail. If a person is charged with possession of 20 grams or more of marijuana, this is a felony offense. It is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 5 years in jail.
If you are convicted of possession of cannabis, this may lead to a Florida suspended drivers license. Under Florida Statute Section 322.055, your drivers license will be suspended for two years in you are convicted of certain Florida drug charges. The court may direct the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to issue a hardship license. However, a hardship license is not available until at least 6 months of the drivers license revocation or suspension has expired. If you are caught driving when a suspended license, you may be charged with Jacksonville driving on a suspended license. Florida Statute 322.056 is the drivers license law that applies to juvenile drug charges.
Many teenagers experiment with drugs and alcohol. As a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney, I have represented teens charged with Jacksonville possession of alcohol by a minor and various drug crimes. Teenagers deserve a second chance. Jacksonville juveniles charged with Jacksonville possession of drug paraphernalia or marijuana should be given the opportunity to get their charges dropped. This may be accomplished with a diversion program in Duval, Nassau or Clay County. St. Johns County has drug court and EPIC for certain St. Johns County juvenile arrests. If charges are dropped, the child may be able to expunge the Florida criminal record.
If you are arrested for a drug charge, this will show up on a background check. You must dispose of a criminal case properly in order to seal or expunge your Florida record. Talk to a Jacksonville juvenile lawyer for help with a juvenile drug case. Call 20 Miles Law at (904) 564-2525.