When you face drug charges, you may expect that a conviction will impact your life. However, you may not expect to experience collateral consequences at the federal level.
According to the United States Government Accountability Office, you may experience collateral consequences after a drug conviction. These are consequences that you experience simply because of your criminal record. While Pennsylvania law imposes some restrictions, you may also face federal collateral consequences.
Types of collateral consequences
You may think that you will only face federal restrictions for violent drug crimes. However, nonviolent drug convictions can cause you to experience up to 641 different consequences. These restrictions affect several different aspects of your life.
You may need a license to operate your business or to practice certain occupations. Federal laws prohibit some people with nonviolent drug convictions from receiving these licenses. Additionally, you may be unable to qualify for the recreational licenses you need to go fishing and hunting and use a firearm.
Additionally, federal collateral consequences restrict the financial assistance you can receive. You may be ineligible for government grants and loans, as well as different types of federal benefits. This restricted assistance may make it difficult for you to run a business or return to school.
Federal laws may include steps you can take so that you are no longer bound by these consequences. You may need to attend a drug rehabilitation program, for example. Successful completion may allow you to receive a pardon. However, only 131 federal collateral consequences offer relief mechanisms. Even when you take all the necessary steps, you may still experience federal consequences for a drug crime.