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What should you know about federal collateral consequences?

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2022 | Drug Crimes

Almost every drug charge conviction can come along with life-altering consequences. However, not many people are prepared for the possibility of collateral consequences on a federal level.

These are consequences that a person may experience due to their criminal record. Despite the restrictions imposed by Pennsylvania law, it can still greatly impact many people.

Collateral consequences restrict freedoms

The United States Government Accountability Office takes a look into federal collateral consequences as related to drug charges. The first part is understanding the different types of federal collateral consequences.

Both violent and nonviolent drug offenses come with consequences. In fact, for nonviolent drug offenses alone, there are up to 641 different consequences that a person may face. These consequences act as a restriction on the freedom of a person’s life.

For example, people with such restrictions might not be able to get the necessary licenses to practice in certain occupations or to operate their businesses. They may not even be able to get recreational licenses, such as those needed to hunt or fish.

Impact on financial support

These consequences also restrict the amount of financial support the government will provide to someone. They can cause someone to be ineligible for loans, grants and certain federal benefits. This can make it hard or even impossible to return to school, own and run a business, and more.

However, there are steps to take which allows a person to avoid these collateral consequences. This includes attending a drug rehabilitation program, which can result in a pardon if successfully completed. Even then, it is possible to end up with consequences that stick.