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Can drug-related charges affect eligibility for student loans?

When New York residents are accused of a drug crime, they will often consider how a conviction will impact their future. For those in college, a drug conviction could seriously affect the student's ability to continue receiving federal financial aid. It is not only important that college students accused of drug crimes consider their defense options, but also how any conviction could impact their future.

How could drug-related charges impact student loan eligibility? If a student is convicted of a drug-related felony or misdemeanor while they were receiving federal student aid, that student will become ineligible to receive any student aid for a specified period of time following the conviction. The period of time is dependent on the type of offense, whether the student has any past offenses on their record and whether they took any action to shorten the period of ineligibility.

If it is the student's first offense and they are convicted for the possession of illegal drugs, they will be ineligible to receive financial aid for one year from the date of conviction. For a second offense, the ineligibility period increases to two years. However, if the student is convicted of three or more offenses, the student will be ineligible for an indefinite period of time. If the student is convicted for the sale of illegal drugs and it is the first offense, the student will be ineligible to receive student aid for two years. Any additional offenses make the student ineligible for an indefinite period of time.

There are three ways a student could shorten the period of ineligibility. The first is by completing an approved drug rehabilitation program, which includes passing two unannounced drug tests. The second way is to pass two unannounced drug tests that are administered at a drug rehabilitation program. Lastly, ineligibility could be shortened by have the drug conviction reversed, set aside or rendered invalid.

The penalties for a drug charge often extend beyond fines and incarceration. Defendants often face serious consequences that impact their personal and professional life. It is important to timely consider a criminal defense.

Source: Whitehouse.gov, "How do drug-related convictions affect my student loan eligibility?," accessed Feb. 1, 2016

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