I'm sorry to hear about this, and yes, sometimes the criminal justice
system can seem pretty twisted. And sometimes that means the person who gets arrested may be the wrong one. The good thing is that if your son doesn't want to go to trial
on this matter, he's got a deal where he can take a smoker's awareness class and keep this charge from ever turning up on his record.
I'm sure that your son has had a great deal of exposure to cigarette smokers, even if he himself is not one. And I'm also sure he's had a great deal of education already in school about the long term dangers of smoking. So making him take anti-cigarette classes probably won't have the negative consequences you fear.
I don't know why the police arrested your son and not the other boy too, if the other boy was also carrying illegal contraband. Perhaps what the other boy had is not illegal, or the police officer didn't know what it was. Perhaps the other boy is a good liar, presented more respectfully, XXXXX XXXXX eye contact, or any one of a dozen subjective things that made the policeman feel that the guilty one of the two was your son rather. The only way you can find out what was going on in the police officer's head is if your son tries the case. Then he's entitled to know all of the evidence that the state has against him.
But just in general, police don't need to do any deep investigation
before an arrest or a citation. Nor is it a defense for your son that the police should have arrested both but didn't. All police need to issue the citation is "probable cause
" which is only a reasonable belief that someone may have been involved in a criminal activity. The finding of the lighter would give the officer probable cause. If the case were to go to trial, however, the charge would have to be proved against him beyond a reasonable doubt in order for him to be convicted. That's a much higher standard for the police to meet.
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This thread will not close and you can always use it to get clarification.This is informational only and is NOT legal advice. There is no attorney-client relationship. You are advised to consult an attorney in your State for specific legal advice.