KIDS: HOW THE LAW EFFECTS YOU

 

Question: What is methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a very addictive stimulant that is manufactured in illegal labs under very dangerous conditions. The manufacture of methamphetamine has a very severely negative impact on the environment. The production of one pound of methamphetamine releases poisonous gas into the atmosphere, and produces 5-7 pounds of toxic waste. Many laboratory operators dump the waste down household drains, in fields or yards, or on rural roads, causing dangerous conditions for anyone coming into contact with the waste. Effects of using methamphetamine include addiction, psychotic behavior, brain damage, extensive tooth decay, open sores on the body, and overall massive degradation in quality of life. 

Question: What happens if i get caught with this stuff?

Arizona Law classifies methamphetamine as a dangerous drug (ARS 13-3401), and makes it a crime to knowingly use, possess, buy, sell, transport or manufacture. It is also illegal to possess the equipment or chemicals to manufacture methamphetamine (ARS 13-3407). The criminal penalties for violation of the laws are harsh and include significant prison times and fines (ARS 13-712).

Question: Can i be arrested for not going to school?

It is against the law for anyone between the ages of 6-16 to not attend school. There are some exceptions through excused absences, home school, etc. but even if you miss just one class period without an excuse, you are considered truant. If you miss school a lot (5 days unexcused), then you are considered habitually truant (ARS 15-803). An attendance officer can enforce this law. The officer can issue you a ticket requiring you and your parent to appear before an official of the court (ARS 15-805). If you are habitually truant, you could be placed on probation, have your driver's license taken away, or have to attend counseling or educational classes (ARS 8-323). 

Question: What if i have alcohol but i didn't purchase it myself?

A person who is under the legal drinking age and who asks another person to purchase, sell, give, or furnish liquor contrary to law is guilty of a class 3 misdemeanor.

Question: If i get busted with weed, what's the worst thing that could happen?

If you are under the age of 18 and prosecuted in juvenile court, you can be placed on probation or sent to the Juvenile Detention Center until you turn 18, and your driver's license may be suspended until you become 18. It can leave a felony charge on your record, which may later affect your ability to get scholarships, federal benefits like tuition loans and housing assistance, or jobs requiring security clearance. The military also has strict rules about accepting candidates with drug histories. You may be unable to enlist unless the army thinks enough time has passed and you are no longer a high risk due to illegal substances again. If you are 18 or older, you will be prosecuted as an adult, the court must place you on probation and require that you attend substance abuse counseling. It can leave you with a felony charge on your record, which has many of the same consequences as listed above. If you reject probation, you can be required to serve time in jail.

Question: what will happen if i'm caught with alcohol while i'm not driving and i have a clean record? how long will this stay on my permanent record?

The legal drinking age in AZ is 21 years old. However, a person is an adult at 18. If you are over the age of 18 in possession of alcohol, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and sentenced. If you are under the age of 18, you will be dealt with at the discretion of the arresting officer. If you are intoxicated, you will not be left by yourself. Your parents will be called, and if they are not available, you will be taken to a juvenile facility. There will be questions as to how you obtained the alcohol. If you bought it with a fake ID, this is another misdemeanor. If you solicited someone else to buy it, this is another misdemeanor and is much more serious. You can lose your driver's license, or at the very least, you may have to wait longer to get one in the first place. If you have applied for a guaranteed tuition scholarship for college in Arizona, you may lose the scholarship for being convicted of being a minor in possession of alcohol. 

How long a misdemeanor stays on your record depends upon whether or not you are actually charged, or merely picked up and sent home (this depends on the arresting officer, and may depend on whether you are actually very drunk, or simply have a beer in your hand). It also depends on whether you are a juvenile (under 18) at the time of the arrest, or are an adult. It also depends on whether your record stays clean following the arrest. 

 

NOTE: This is a short list of some legal things that young adults should know, and is by far not a complete list. There are many things one should consider before doing something that is against the law. Always think of your family and friends, and how they will feel when they find out you've been charged with a crime. Think about whether your actions can get someone else in trouble before committing such acts. And finally, think about yourself and your future before doing something that can seriously damage the possibilities and potential of your life. If you love your friends and family, and value your own future, please think before you act.

Please remember, stay in school, don't drink and drive, don't use illegal drugs, and if you ever need advice, or simply someone to talk to, ask your loved ones or give us a shout. We're always here to help with whatever you need!

- Marana Municipal Court Staff