The Collateral Consequences of a Drug Conviction
Criminal charges related to drug possession are a serious legal matter, regardless of the type or amount of drugs involved. For example, a first offense for the possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. While it is true that these maximum penalties are rarely imposed, and many first offenders are sentenced to probation, the collateral consequences of a drug conviction can be much worse than those imposed by the court.
What are Collateral Consequences?
Broadly speaking, collateral consequences are the consequences that you may experience as a result of having a criminal record. When it comes to a drug conviction, the collateral consequences that you experience can be far-reaching and last for decades after any court-imposed sentence has come to an end. Some of the more common collateral consequences of a drug conviction include the following:
Employers have an incentive to avoid hiring people with drug or alcohol problems. As a result, a drug conviction can result in the loss of your current job. It can also make it difficult to find a new job, as 92 percent of employers conduct background checks.
Difficulty Finding Housing
Similarly, landlords have an incentive to avoid renting to people who use or are otherwise involved with drugs. In addition, many landlords also perform background screening on applications. If you have a drug conviction on your record, it may make it difficult to rent an apartment.
If you are convicted of a drug crime, you could face significant disciplinary action from your school. Some of the actions your school could take include rescinding your admission, probation, suspension, or even expulsion. In fact, a drug crime on your record could significantly affect your chances of getting into the college or university of your choice at all.
If you are in a regulated profession like law, medicine, or finance, you may also face professional consequences because of a drug conviction. In addition, if you are planning to go into a field where you need a license, a past drug conviction could affect your chances of obtaining a license.
What an Attorney Can Do to Help
Fortunately, the fact that you are facing a drug charge does not necessarily mean that you will be convicted. There are often many things that an attorney can do to mitigate the consequences you are facing. In fact, in some instances, a lawyer may be able to get the charges against you dropped entirely.
For example, if the police violated your rights during a search, your lawyer may be able to get the evidence against you suppressed, making it inadmissible in court. Furthermore, even if there are no defenses available in your case, your lawyer may be able to obtain a conditional discharge sentence that will result in the dismissal of your case, provided you successfully complete probation.
Call Us Today to Speak with a Wisconsin Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a drug charge, your entire future may be on the line. At Nelson Defense Group, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of people like you and work hard to secure the best possible outcome in every case. To schedule a free case evaluation with a criminal defense attorney in Hudson, call our office today or contact us online.