The collateral consequences of a felony drug conviction

| Feb 14, 2021 | Drug Crimes |

The collateral consequences of a felony drug conviction in Tennessee can alter the trajectory of your life. These consequences may affect virtually every aspect of your life, from job to family and living arrangements.

According to Tennessee Drug Statutes, possession of certain opiates, opium derivatives such as heroin, MDMA and other hallucinogenic substances is a Class B felony.

General drug conviction consequences

A felony drug conviction can carry significant fines and administrative fees, probation and prison time. The precise penalties vary, based on several factors, including the substance involved, its weight, aggravating factors, criminal history and whether your case includes distributive intent. The punishment determined by the court is only a portion of the consequences you may experience.

Collateral consequences of a felony drug conviction

Collateral consequences are the sanctions and disqualifications that individuals with a conviction record face after paying direct penalties. They can affect you even if you didn’t spend any time in jail or accepted a plea deal. A felony conviction can carry a broad range of collateral consequences, including the following:

  • Inability to travel to Canada, Mexico or overseas
  • Ineligibility for certain state or federal employment
  • Loss of voting rights in major elections
  • Inability to own fireworks, firearms or hunting gear
  • Loss of drivers’ license
  • Ineligibility for federal student loans, private living facilities and certain jobs

If you are a citizen of another country, you may become ineligible for United States Citizenship and potentially deported.

Not all drug cases result in a conviction. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, you may get the charges reduced or dismissed. If the police mishandled evidence or did not follow procedures, the state’s case may not hold up in court.