The Potential Long-Term Consequences of a Drug Conviction
Low-level drug crimes involving simple possession are one of the most common ways that individuals get caught up in the criminal justice system. In many cases, these cases do not result in particularly serious legal consequences, and many people feel like they can dispose of their drug cases with little more than the proverbial “slap on the wrist” from the judge assigned to their case.
If you have been accused of a drug crime in Missouri or Illinois, it’s vital to be aware of the fact that if you are convicted of a drug crime, there are certain collateral consequences that could affect you for years or even decades after your court-imposed sentence has ended. Consequently, it’s highly advisable for you to retain an attorney to protect your rights and future by working to resolve your case as favorably as possible. Some of the more significant potential consequences of a drug conviction include:
Problems Getting a Job
These days, almost all employers conduct a basic background checkas part of the hiring process, and a drug conviction is almost certainly going to show up on one. A drug conviction is likely to raise red flags to any employer, making it more difficult to obtain suitable employment. In fact, as both Missouri and Illinois are at-will employment states, a drug conviction could actually result in the loss of your current position.
Difficulty Renting an Apartment
More and more landlords conduct background checks on individuals who apply to rent their apartments and may be hesitant to rent to anyone that has a drug conviction on their record. Drug activity can reduce property values, and many landlords believe that tenants who use drugs are more likely to engage in other criminal activity or not pay rent.
If you are a licensed professional or plan to become one, a drug conviction can have a significant impact on your current license or your ability to obtain one. Professionals in fields like medicine, law, accounting, teaching, locksmithing, and financial services all need to maintain a professional license in order to do their jobs.
Fortunately, the Representation of an Attorney May Be Able to Help
If you’re in the unenviable position of facing allegations of a drug crime, it’s important to keep in mind that there are ways that an attorney may be able to help. For example, if the police made any mistakes or violated your rights during the encounter in which they found drugs, it may be possible to have the evidence against you suppressed, which often results in the dismissal of a case. Even if there are no defenses available in your case, your lawyer may be able to negotiate a favorable plea agreement with the prosecutor handling your case or get you into a diversionary program like drug courtthat may allow you to avoid a conviction entirely.
If You’ve Been Charged with a Drug Crime, You Should Call a St. Louis Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately
A drug crime conviction can have a serious impact on your life, long after the sentence imposed by the court has ended. At Bruntrager & Billings, we’re dedicated to providing judgment-free and effective legal representation to individuals accused of crimes throughout Missouri and Illinois. To schedule a free consultation with a defense attorney in St. Louis, call Bruntrager & Billings today at (314) 646-0066 or contact us online.