Can a judge legally do this?

UPDATED: May 27, 2009

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Can a judge legally do this?

I have a 16 yr. old step daughter that appeared before the judge on a possession of alcohol charge. She appeared in court and the judge ordered a urine screen, her screening came back positive NOT FOR alcohol But for having cannabis in her system. The judge then orders her into the juvenile detention center, can a judge legally incarcerate her Not on the original charge that she appeared for which was possession of alcohol but on the dirty urine test that she was not formally processed for?

Asked on May 27, 2009 under Criminal Law, Virginia


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

It's possible that your step daughter's rights were violated, but before I'd act on that idea, I'd have a lawyer in your area review all the facts.  If you need to look for an attorney, one place you can do that is our website,

It's true that there is ordinarily a due process problem, with having to face charges in court that weren't in the notice that summoned you to court.  But there are at least two problems with that argument, here.  One is that in juvenile court in general, most of the usual rules are relaxed, because the juvenile justice system has a protective component as well as the punishment side of it; it takes much less to justify confinement if the overall purpose is protecting her best interests.  The second is that, if the marijuana screening is part of the routine testing that would be done on a urine screening in this context, running the test isn't a violation of your step-daughter's rights.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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