The Florida Highway Patrol has revealed that a trooper recently made a drug arrest after observing the driver of a minivan make an illegal U-turn in Palm Beach County. The drug possession charges that resulted are an all too common occurrence on our roadways, particularly among teenage drivers. The 18-year-old teen that was arrested, however, was previously the victim of a vicious crime that garnered international attention and that prior incident may have contributed to what may be a drug problem.
The trooper who pulled over the minivan reported that the driver readily admitted he did not have a valid driver's license. In patting down the teen after smelling the scent of marijuana in the vehicle, the trooper apparently found a Ziploc bag containing marijuana, and also found Oxycodone pills and crack. A search is also said to have uncovered a variety of drug paraphernalia. Authorities claim the teen freely acknowledged that the drugs and related items belonged to him, and he was charged with possession drugs and drug paraphernalia, as well as a number of traffic violations.
The accused man will now have to confront the Florida criminal justice system, a system with which he has had some experience as a crime victim. As a 15-year-old in 2009, he was set upon by three disgruntled friends, doused with lighter fluid and set on fire. The scars, real and emotional, may have been one of the underlying factors that led to his recent arrest.
Florida State Troopers have a job to do, and safety on our roadways is clearly of paramount importance. On the other hand, sometimes the criminal justice system benefits by slowing down and carefully considering all of the factors behind pending criminal cases like these drug possession charges. In the first instance, the teen is fully entitled to his day in court to contest the charges and seek an optimal result. Whether that may mean a negotiated plea agreement that perhaps includes a specified drug treatment plan is an option the young man will likely discuss with his counsel.
Source: Sun Sentinel, "Michael Brewer: Teen in burning case arrested on drug charges," Rafael Olmeda and Brett Clarkson, March 21, 2013