When most people think of consequences related to a drug conviction they think of jail or prison. And while jail is a very real potential consequence, many first time offenders are able to avoid a prison or jail sentence in exchange for a plea of guilty, participation in a treatment program, and long-term supervised probation.
But consider the following hidden consequences of a Minnesota drug conviction:
Loss of Right to Possess a Firearm
If you are convicted of a felony drug offense in Minnesota, you lose the right to possess a firearm for life. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor or gross-misdemeanor drug offense, you lose the right for three years following the date of conviction. Those convicted of a felony offense may petition a court for restoration of their right to possess a firearm, but must demonstrate “good cause” in order to do so.
Loss of Right to Vote
Once convicted of a felony drug offense you lose the right to vote or serve on a jury. These rights are restored after you complete the probationary term associated with your sentence.
For non-United States citizens (i.e. permanent residents, green card holders, undocumented aliens) drug convictions carry severe immigration consequences. A single conviction for mere possession of more than 30 grams of marijuana may result in automatic deportation.
Difficulty Getting a Job
Consider the costs of a drug conviction on your future earnings. Obtaining employment with a drug conviction can be a particular challenge.
Loss of Driver's License
Driving privileges may be revoked if the drug offense involved an automobile.
Pleading guilty to a drug offense may result in the civil forfeiture of your assets that were related to the offense. Example: if you moved a controlled substance in your car, your car may be subject to forfeiture.
Loss of Professional License
If your job requires a professional license (e.g. nurse, PCA, lawyer, architect, CPA, teacher, commercial driver, etc.) your license will likely be suspended or cancelled following a conviction for a drug offense.
Ineligibility for Government / Student Loans
Even a petty misdemeanor ticket for the possession of a small amount of marijuana will make a student ineligible for student loans.
Inability to Adopt a Child or Become a Foster Parent
A recent drug conviction will disqualify you from adoption or acting as a foster parent.
Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Future Offenses
Once convicted of a drug offense, sentencing for future offenses increase substantially.
Damage to Reputation
Court records are public documents and are easily searchable. A drug conviction may affect how you are viewed in certain social circles.
Problems Renting a House or Apartment
Almost all landlords perform a background check on potential tenants; many landlords may be suspicious of your ability to pay rent because of your drug conviction.
Loss of Child Custody / Parenting Time
A drug conviction, or even an arrest, may lead to an investigation by social services regarding any maltreatment of minors. A conviction for a drug offense stop you from being able to have parenting time of your own children.
Don’t Face Drug Charges Alone
Neither the judge or the prosecutor are required to advise you of all the negative consequences that may result from a guilty plea to a Minnesota drug crime. And they surely won’t advise you of any potential defenses to a drug charge that you may have. Even if the facts of your case won’t support a not guilty verdict, a skilled defense attorney is often able to help defendants avoid a conviction and the harsh collateral consequences that can follow a guilty plea.
Contact an Experienced Minnesota Drug Defense Attorney
David Balmer established the Balmer Law Office with one overriding goal: provide aggressive, high-caliber criminal and DWI defense for good people facing serious charges throughout the state of Minnesota.