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Little brother, big penalty

By Jeff Terrill

Fort Wayne Reader


Many laws aim to punish adults who place minors in danger. For example, adults who batter kids or who sell to or give drugs to minors can receive enhanced penalties.

Meet Jay. Heís an eighteen-year-old high school senior that I made up for this story. Jay is set to graduate in a few months. He plans to either go to college or into the Army. Jayís parents let Jay drive one of their cars to and from school. Jay also drives his fifteen-year-old little brother, Max.

Since the start of the new semester, Jay started driving another high school senior to school. His name is Scott. Scott talks about getting high a lot. Scott sometimes tells Jay and Max that he sells pot in school. Last week, Scott pulled out a plastic baggie from his jacket pocket and showed it to Jay and Max. Jay and Max donít smoke pot. For some reason, though, Jay acted like he was cool with Scott using and selling drugs.

On the way to school one day, a police officer pulls over Jayís car. The officer tells Jay that he was speeding. The officer says he smells marijuana. Jay seems surprised. The officer asks Jay for permission to search the car. Jay acquiesces. The officer separates the boys and orders them to sit on the sidewalk by the road.

Minutes later, another police officer arrives. That officer starts patting down the boys and asks them to empty their pockets. Scott is less cooperative than Jay and Max. The officer soon finds several grams of marijuana in a plastic bag inside Scottís jacket.

The officer begins searching Jay and asking him about Scottís marijuana. Jay tells the officer that he knows Scott smokes pot and that he sometimes brings it to school. Max informs the officer that Scott once showed him a small bag of marijuana in the car.

The officers arrest Scott for possessing marijuana, a Class B misdemeanor. Then the officers turn their attention back to Jay. One of the officers asks Jay if he knew Scott was bringing drugs into Jayís car. Jay explains that Scott brags a lot about smoking pot and selling it in school. The officers asked Jay why he continues to give him rides to school. Jay didnít have an answer.

The officer arrests Jay for taking a juvenile to a location used for the sale, manufacture or possession of an illegal drug, a Class A misdemeanor. The officer tells Jay that he broke the law when he brought his fifteen-year-old brother into a car where illegal drugs were present.

Jay doesnít smoke pot, use drugs or even drink alcohol. He loves Max and watches out for him. But he is now accused of putting his little brother in harmís way and faces a penalty if convicted up to one year in jail.

Jeff Terrill is a partner/shareholder with the law firm of Arnold Terrill Anzini, P.C. Mr. Terrill represents clients accused of crimes throughout northeast Indiana. You can contact Mr. Terrill with any questions or comments at his office at 260.420.7777 or via email at jterrill@fortwaynedefense.com. Learn more about his firm at www.fortwaynedefense.com. This article expressed opinions and observations of the author, is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. Please consult a qualified attorney with any legal questions or issues you might have. Thank you

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©2018 Fort Wayne Reader. All rights Reserved.