Charles L. Truncale
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Spring break teens facing drug charges in Florida

Two teenagers may regret their decision to spend spring break in Florida after being taken into custody on drug charges by police in Bay County. Officers with the Lynn Haven Police Department pulled the couple's car over for speeding on April 5 as they made their way back to Tennessee. However, what began as a routine traffic stop took an unexpected turn when officers allegedly detected the smell of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

The officers then ordered the 19-year-old man who had been driving the car and his 18-year-old female passenger to exit the vehicle. A subsequent search of the car is said to have led to the discovery of 14 ounces of marijuana, $6,000 in cash, electronic scales and a semi-automatic handgun. Police say that the drugs were packaged in a way that suggested they were available for sale. Officers claim that the woman admitted to them that the drugs, gun, money and alleged drug paraphernalia were hers. Police say they also recovered a small amount of marijuana from the man who had been behind the wheel.

The two teenagers were then transported to the Bay County Jail to await their arraignment hearings. The woman has been charged with drug possession with the intent to distribute. The charge is a felony because more than 20 grams of marijuana is involved. She has also been charged with possessing drug paraphernalia and possessing a firearm while committing a felony. The man was charged with misdemeanor drug possession and cited for exceeding the posted speed limit.

While the urge to accept responsibility and spare companions the trauma of incarceration can be a powerful one, experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge individuals who will likely be charged with serious drug crimes to remain silent until they have spoken with counsel. The penalties for felony drug possession can be harsh, and prosecutors may be less willing to reduce them when defendants have confessed.

Source: ABC News Channel 9, "Hixson teens arrested with guns, drugs in Florida", Joshua Lillard, April 6, 2018

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