Over the last several decades in the United States there has been a concerted effort among legislators and law enforcement agencies to stem the flow of drugs into the U.S. Of course, just like any other business, the drug trade is based on the economics of supply and demand. If there was no demand for drugs there would be no need for a supply. Therefore, legislators and law enforcement agencies have also focused on drug users when increasing the penalties for a drug offense conviction. Across the nation, offenders are sitting in prisons sentenced to life for possession of small amounts of a controlled substance. The consequences of a drug offense conviction don’t stop there though. On the contrary, the potential negative consequences of a conviction for a drug related offense are numerous and varied which is why it is imperative that you retain the services of an experienced Nebraska drug defense attorney if you have been arrested and charged with a drug related crime in the State of Nebraska.
It is easy enough to find out what the judicially imposed penalties for a drug offense may be as those potential penalties are all found in the relevant statute. What people often do not think about, are the non-judicial consequences of a drug conviction. These non-judicial consequences are often more important, particularly if a defendant escapes a term of imprisonment, because they can have a far-reaching and long-lasting impact on a defendant’s life. Some of those potential consequences may include, but are not limited to, the following:
· Loss of employment – your current employer could choose to terminate you before your case is even over just because of the allegations against you. The State of Nebraska, like most states, is an employment “at will” state, meaning your employer can fire you for any reason, or no reason at all, as long as you are not discriminated against.
· Disqualification for future employment – many positions, particularly those that require a license or a specific type of degree, disqualify applicants who have been convicted of certain types of crimes and/or certain levels of crimes.
· Loss of driving privileges – people frequently are unaware that many criminal statutes involving the possession or sale of drugs can lead to the loss of your driving privileges. In addition, in almost all states the state’s “driving under the influence” laws include being under the influence of drugs.
· Removal or denial of change of status for foreign nationals – if you are a foreign national living in the United States a conviction for a drug crime could lead to your forced removal from the country or could be used to deny you a change of status should you apply at any time.
· Denial of, or eviction from, housing – most standard residential leases include a provision that allows the landlord to evict a tenant who has been convicted of a violation of federal, state, or local law that is detrimental to the health, safety, and welfare of other residents.
· Disqualification for federal benefits – conviction of certain drug offenses will lead to being disqualified for certain federal assistance programs such as Food Stamps and TANF.
· Ineligible for federal student loans – a conviction under federal or state law of a crime involving possession or sale of a controlled substance will leave you ineligible for federal assistance for higher education expenses for a certain period of time.
· Disciplinary action for a professional license – if you work in a profession that requires you to obtain a professional license (lawyer, real estate agent, contractors, accountants etc.) you may be denied a license or may face disciplinary action if you already have one at the time of your conviction.
· Loss of visitation privileges with minor children – a drug offense conviction could be used against you in civil court when the issue of visitation with minor children is litigated.
· Loss of right to vote – if you drug crime conviction was for a felony you will lose your right to vote in state and federal elections.
· Ineligible to purchase or carry a firearm – conviction of certain drug offenses will bar you from purchasing, much less carrying, a firearms for a considerable amount of time
As you can see, the list of non-judicial negative consequences is long, making it even more important that you try to avoid a drug crime conviction altogether. If you have been charged with a drug offense in Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced drug defense attorney.
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