Drug convictions change the course of your life forever. Upon entering college and being out of the parent’s home, many experiment with drugs and alcohol for the first time. One of many devastating impacts resulting from a drug conviction is losing eligibility for student financial aid and scholarships.
If you are attending college and receive federal student aid, a drug conviction renders you ineligible for loans, Pell grants and work study. Even worse, you may have to pay back financial aid you received. However, reinstatement is possible following successful completion of a drug treatment program.
If you attend a public post-secondary school in Georgia, the law requires immediate suspension and loss of all credit earned during the term following a felony drug conviction. Student athletes may be kicked off the team and lose their scholarship. Many college policies allow drug testing if there is reasonable suspicion of use. For example, at Valdosta State University, if a student athlete is subject to a drug related charge, they are immediately removed from the athletic department and financial aid is cancelled, even before the student is convicted.
If you can finish your degree, many careers require state licensing. In Florida and Georgia, many occupational licensing boards cannot issue a license to someone with a felony. Georgia suspends your driver’s license for 180 days following a first time drug conviction, and if convicted of a second offense within five years, you lose it for three. In addition, a drug conviction on your record often bars you from government employment and benefits, voting, the ability to own firearm, or find housing.
In light of the many collateral consequences stemming from drug convictions, the best defense is to avoid using drugs or associating with people who do. However, if you find yourself in legal trouble, it is essential you contact a criminal defense attorney immediately to assist. Your future depends on it.