A drug possession charge can change your life, and you may have many concerns. Will you go to jail? Will you lose your job? What will happen to your family? Charges vary, and not all charges result in a conviction. Here are a few things you may be thinking about:
- Jail time. Whether you serve jail time may depend on several factors, including the level of offense and the type of drug in question. Is this your first offense? Can the prosecutor use the evidence gathered against you in court? Are you eligible for North Carolina’s jail diversion program because of a mental illness, including substance abuse? If the charge is minor possession of marijuana, you may only face a fine.
- Employment. Even a minor drug conviction can be grounds for firing at some jobs and bar you from being hired at others. The good news is that groups are pushing to remove questions about criminal records from employment applications.
- Housing. Both landlords and mortgage lenders may require more than just a credit score. They may also require a criminal background check, and can turn you down for a drug-related offense.
- Child custody. A single, minor possession charge should not affect your custody rights. But be aware that if you have multiple convictions or a severe substance abuse problem, you may be putting those rights in jeopardy. All the more reason you should consider seeking help if you think you have a substance abuse problem.
- Education. Drug convictions can derail your plans for college if you need federal financial aid or private loans. In addition, colleges may deny you admission based on a drug offense.
Hopefully, your family and friends will support you through this difficult time and help you find the assistance you need. You are not the first person to be charged with this crime, and you are not alone. Facing a drug possession charge can be scary, but knowing what to expect can help you plan a brighter future.