With the relaxed attitude that many people have developed toward marijuana and other “soft” drugs, it’s easy to fool yourself into believing that a drug possession charge or charges for dealing drugs aren’t that serious.
Don’t count on it. A drug-related criminal conviction can have long-term consequences for your future. Here are some of the challenges people face after a conviction:
Difficulty getting a job
Many drug charges are felonies. Being convicted of a drug-related felony might make it difficult for you to find a job. This could mean that you have to work for less money than what you would be able to earn if you didn’t have the drug felony on your record. Not being able to find a suitable job can affect other areas of your life, such as being able to afford decent housing. You may even be turned away from some housing due to your conviction.
Limits on your career choices
A drug conviction can make it impossible to turn your life around and pursue a career that requires a professional license. You may also find yourself unable to get educational loans, pass security clearances and more. Even if your conviction was decades in the past or a product of your youth, it’s no longer easy to let the past fade away.
Bans on public assistance
In Virginia, people who are convicted of drug charges face modified bans on cash assistance and food stamps. These can make it hard for you to receive assistance at a time when you truly need it. While some people assume they won’t need these programs, it’s important to know how your eligibility will be affected just in case you need the help down the road. Your ability to receive financial aid for college might also be impacted by a drug conviction.
Your attorney can help you to learn about other impacts that you might have if you’re convicted. Whether you’re planning on going to trial or are hoping for a plea deal, understanding these points from the start might help you to make an informed decision about the direction of your defense strategy.