Just about anybody’s life can be negatively altered by a criminal conviction. However, if you are a student or are beginning your career, a conviction can especially limit the opportunities available to you in the future.
You probably are already aware that the cost of an undergraduate or graduate education is astronomically expensive. As a result, many students must rely on student loans to finance their educations. However, if you are convicted of a drug crime, even if it is a minor drug possession crime, you run the risk of losing your eligibility for federal financial aid.
If your educational plans involve obtaining an advanced degree, you need to have a strong GPA, impressive test scores as well as recommendations and work experience. However, what you don’t need is a criminal conviction. Since virtually every graduate or professional school applications requires you to disclose any convictions, having one on your record can mean that your spot in the class goes to someone else.
If your career aspirations involve working in a field that requires a license, like medicine or law, having a conviction can make it significantly harder to enter the field. This is because the state boards that oversee the professions do not look kindly on criminal convictions, especially if they are drug or alcohol related. As a result, if you have a conviction, you may spend years (and a lot of money) pursing a degree that you will not be able to use, as you may be denied the license you need to practice.
Like graduate school, virtually all employers now require candidates to disclose any criminal convictions during the hiring process. Having a conviction on your record can make it significantly more difficult to find a job, as many employers are squeamish about hiring candidates with criminal records. This is especially true for federal government positions that require employees to obtain and maintain a security clearance.
Speak to an attorney
The bottom line is that having a conviction on your record can bring you trouble that you don’t need. Since your very future is at stake, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you are charged with a crime. An attorney can work on your behalf to prepare a strong defense to the charges and obtain the best possible outcome for you.