If you are arrested and convicted of a drug-related offense, there is a good chance that you will not serve a lengthy jail term for the crime. This is especially true for trivial drug offenses. On most occasions, a fine or short jail term is sufficient punishment for minor drug offenses.
Although the immediate legal consequences of a drug conviction might not be dire, the long-term effects can be profound and even life-changing. Here are some of the ways that a drug conviction can affect your life in the future.
Long-Term Effects of a Drug Conviction
1. Fewer Employment Opportunities
Today, it is routine for employers to conduct background checks on potential employees. Many are reluctant to hire anyone with a criminal record, much less one with a drug conviction. It doesn’t matter whether your conviction was for a felony or a minor crime: As long as it exists, employers are bound to look upon you unfavorably.
There are also career paths that a convicted drug offender will have a hard time following. For instance, you will likely be refused employment as a law enforcement officer, a nurse, or any job involving children.
To avoid a drug conviction in the first place, you should contact a reputable DUI lawyer as soon as you are arrested. This will help to safeguard your employment opportunities in the future.
The immigration department treats non-citizens who commit drug offenses rather harshly. Even if you are convicted for a misdemeanor, you stand to lose your green card or permanent resident status. This allows Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to deport you to your country of origin. This can be quite a regrettable occurrence, which is why you need to get proper legal representation.
3. Loss of Child Custody
Custody battles are naturally acrimonious. If you are currently fighting with your co-parent over who gets to raise your children, a drug conviction can be the last nail in your coffin. Some parents even use a drug arrest to question the character of their partner. Courts are unsympathetic to parents with drug convictions, so this can cost you custody of your children, possibly even visitation rights.
A drug conviction can also affect your ability to adopt a child in the future. Rather than find out a decade later that your minor drug offense is the reason why you can’t become a parent, it is better to consult a lawyer to avoid a conviction in the first place.
4. Losing Some Rights
If you are convicted of a drug felony, you will probably have to give up some of your civil rights. These include the right to vote, serve on a jury, and carry arms.
5. Ineligibility for Government Programs
A drug conviction can also render you ineligible for some government programs. For instance, you may be unable to access government housing, even if you desperately need it .
You may also find it hard to access subsidized loans from the government. College loans could also be harder to obtain due to a drug conviction.
At the time of your arrest, you might not think much about a drug conviction. The prosecutor might also persuade you to accept a guilty plea in exchange for leniency. But before you take that attractive deal, stop and think about the long-term effects of the choice you are about to make.
A drug conviction can severely impact your ability to secure a good job. You may even lose your child custody rights or your green card. If you are convicted of a drug felony, you may also be unable to vote or own a gun. You may also find it harder to access government aid, especially where it concerns housing.
Often, you can avoid getting convicted of a drug charge by hiring an excellent attorney. A criminal lawyer will help you understand the nature of the charges against you, all the potential outcomes if you choose to go to trial, and work hard searching for evidence that supports your case. Their expertise and litigation skills can save you from a lifetime of problems.
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