The consequences that could befall a criminal defendant can be harsh, especially when a person is young and just starting his or her life. When charged with a drug crime, young adult not only endure the criminal penalties associated with the crime, but they could also experience consequences that could impede his or her goal of obtaining a higher education.
A criminal conviction of a drug charge could impact a person's ability to obtain financial aid for college. According to the Department of Education, students with a criminal conviction on their record have limited eligibility for federal student aid. For those currently incarcerated in a federal or state institution, this means they have no ability to obtain a federal Pell Grant or federal student loans. It is possible, however, to get a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant or FSEOG or a Federal Work Study or FWS, although one probably will not receive these because priority is given to those also receiving a Pell Grant and the logistics of performing a FWS while incarcerated will be difficult.
For those incarcerated in an institution other than a federal or state institution, he or she is not eligible for federal student loans; however, they can apply for Pell Grant. These individual can get FSEOG and FWS; however, they likely won't because schools are limited with regards to FSEOG funds and the logical difficulties of performing a FWS is far too great.
When an individual is released, he or she will have most eligibility limitations removed. One should note that they are able to apply for student aid prior to their release in order to ensure aid is processed in time to begin school. Eligibility will be limited for those convicted of drug crimes. When federal student aid is suspended because of a drug offense, it is possible to regain eligibility. By successfully completing a drug rehabilitation program or passing to unannounced drug tests that are administered at a drug rehab program, an individual can regain eligibility.
Drug charges can impact a person beyond the penalties outlined by the law. A defendant can have a lot on the line if they are convicted of the pending charges. Thus, it is important to understand how a criminal defense strategy could help them reduce and even dismiss the charges they are facing.