The consequences of a conviction or a crime involving controlled substances, even at a young age, even for a minor drug offense, can last far into the future. The long-term consequences, in fact, can greatly exceed those of the immediate punishment and can damage future education opportunities, employment, and the exercise of basic rights such as voting and gun ownership.
Among high school teens and college students, drug crimes rank high among fairly common transgressions. Some of these convictions, such as simple possession or use of marijuana, are minor, while others, such as dealing or distribution of illegal drugs, are far more serious. Even a conviction for minor charges, however, could cost you your federal student aid—including federally subsidized loans, scholarships, or grants, or participation in federally sponsored work-study programs. You could possibly regain eligibility for federal student aid under certain circumstances, potentially including a waiting period or successful completion of a drug rehabilitation program. Nonetheless, even a temporary disruption in such funding sources can create a major setback to obtaining a college education.
The consequences aren’t limited to federal education aid. Private organizations that fund scholarships, as well as colleges and universities, most of which offer scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid, have differing requirements for students to maintain their eligibility for financial aid. Many are fairly rigid about criminal convictions ending aid eligibility. Once again, a drug conviction can have long-lasting consequences.
The Council of State Governments’ Justice Center has tabulated all of the offenses that carry administrative penalties and other consequences that go beyond the immediate criminal penalties that accompany a conviction on drug or other charges. They found more than 148,000 potential administrative penalties that follow certain convictions. Of those, 115 applied to drug convictions. These include:
The list goes on. Some penalties are discretionary, while others are mandatory and automatic. They extend into multiple areas of your daily life, including education, employment, gun rights, and voting rights.
If you were arrested on drug charges in the Philadelphia area, consult a criminal defense attorney and explore your options. A conviction on drug charges can have devastating consequences for years into your future. The attorneys at The Skinner Law Firm can help. Reach us at (610) 436-1410 or through our online contact form.