I am under 18 years old - what applies to me?

Juvenile criminal law

Many pot-related arrests involve juveniles. If you are under 18, many things are a little different than with adults. Basically, the prohibition remains as we describe it in this brochure, but the range of punishment is even more open than with adults. This means that the youth prosecutor's office has a very wide discretion as to how to intervene when it learns that young people are smoking pot. They can summon them or give them a written warning (and possibly also charge them a fine).

Thus, a Winterthur youth prosecutor mentioned in the Tages-Anzeiger of May 26, 2001: “We have a lot of marijuana users - even today. (…) We no longer have to do interrogation in certain cases because of overload. But we continue to summon stoners under 15. Only over 15-year-olds we treat in writing.” Cost would then 140 francs. However, those who are conspicuous or have been reported several times, of course, will be dealt with more harshly. And the possibilities range from a warning, to work assignments, to conditional or unconditional incarceration. (Conditional means that the punishment is not enforced immediately, but during a certain time, for example one or two years, it is seen whether the convicted person will reoffend - only then is the punishment enforced).

Courses for smokers

In certain municipalities, when young people who smoke pot are noticed, the youth prosecutor's office does not immediately impose a penalty, but the young people have to attend prevention courses and deal with the issue of addiction. In the case of repeated conspicuousness, a penalty is then imposed.

And in addition, the parents also have a say in the case of under-18s. Usually they are informed by the juvenile lawyer. Mail from the juvenile lawyer also reaches the parents' address, of course. Then, at the latest, in addition to the interference of the authorities, there is also a discussion with the parents. They react very differently. While some parents smoke pot themselves, for other parents a whole world collapses - they see their offspring lying under a bridge with a needle in their arms. These talks with the parents are more difficult for many young people than the punishment by the juvenile prosecutor's office.

Not all young people get the same turn

Those who get good grades in school or perform well in their apprenticeship normally do not have to fear severe sanctions. On the other hand, those who do poorly in training or even develop other illegal activities (fiddling with motorcycles, theft) are naturally dealt with more severely. And the earlier someone is caught, the greater the likelihood that he or she will receive increasingly severe penalties - because repeat offenses can be punished more severely each time. It really makes a lot of sense to postpone the first reprimands in life as much as possible. After all, anyone who has already received several fines before reaching the age of majority will have a difficult adult life.

Joint consumption

One specific point is new to note: If young people under the age of 18 smoke pot together with young people over the age of 18, passing on the joint is legal for those who pass it on to young people over the age of 18, but for those who pass it on to young people under the age of 18 it is misdemeanor, i.e. massively illegal behavior. This provision was probably intended to combat the oh-so-evil dealers, but it will affect adults who consume THC products together with young people - and likewise young people who smoke joints with other young people. Here, too, there is a transfer to under 18-year-olds!

Last modified: 2024/03/27 08:56

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Legal overview

Shit happens 15 (Summer 2023)

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