If my 14 year old daughter got charged with possession of marijuana (less than an oz.) at school, do we need to get a lawyer?

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If my 14 year old daughter got charged with possession of marijuana (less than an oz.) at school, do we need to get a lawyer?

What’s going to happen when she goes to court? I don’t want this to affect her record in the future.

Asked on December 2, 2015 under Criminal Law, Georgia

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Often the courts will appoint an attorney if you cannot afford one for her. Call ahead and see if the jurisdiction you're in offers a program for court appointed attorney.  If they don't, you do not necessarily have to hire an attorney, but at least arrange a consultation with an attorney so that can let you know about any specific programs in your jurisdiction that your daughter may be eligible for. Juvenile records are usually sealed... so this isn't something that will necessarily ruin your daughter's life, but these are still serious decisions that don't need to be taken lightly. 
At a first court date, the court will usually admonish your child of her rights.  A juvenile officer may want to visit with you and your daughter.  If you request time, the judge will usually give you time to hire an attorney.  Again... you don't have to have one... but it does help to have someone make sure that you both understand the consequences of whatever they offer your daughter by way of a plea bargain.


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