A first offense of simple possession of a controlled substance is a misdemeanor charge in North Dakota. If convicted, you will likely face fines and probation. While jail time is possible, first-time offenders are often able to avoid extended time behind bars with the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Because of this, many people do not think much of minor drug charges, and they plan to simply move forward with their lives.
The problem is that many convicted drug offenders fail to recognize the many long-term effects that a seemingly minor case can have on their lives. This is something you should always discuss with your attorney before deciding to accept a plea bargain and plead guilty.
Having any convictions on your criminal record can impact your career in many ways. First, it might be possible for a minor drug conviction to cause you to lose a professional license. This is especially true if there is other evidence of substance abuse or misconduct. In addition, if you are looking for a new job, there is a good chance the company will conduct a background check. Some employers refuse to hire anyone with a criminal record, and others will not hire individuals with drug convictions specifically.
If you are a student, a minor drug conviction can affect your future education. Colleges and universities might disqualify you from playing sports, rescind scholarships, or even suspend or expel you. It might be difficult to get into higher education programs with a drug conviction on your record. Even if you are accepted, a drug conviction can make you ineligible for federal financial aid.
If you are not a United States citizen, a drug conviction – even a misdemeanor – can lead you to be detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). You can then face deportation proceedings, which can be difficult to defend against. You might risk being separated from your family, home, work, and more.
Harsher Penalties in the Future
A charge for a first offense of drug possession can be a misdemeanor, but subsequent offenses can become felony charges. This means harsher penalties, a greater chance you will go to jail, and more drastic effects of having a felony on your record.
Speak with a Fargo Criminal Defense Lawyer Immediately
You want to prevent a first drug conviction whenever possible – even if it seems like a minor case. Contact our experienced criminal defense attorney, Tatum O’Brien, by email, or call O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys at 701-235-8000 or toll-free 877-235-8002. We are ready to help.