Have you ever heard of something called the Butterfly Effect? The idea is that small actions can have large and unpredictable consequences over a long period of a time. The concept is often illustrated by saying that the flap of a butterfly’s wings at the right moment can ultimately lead to a hurricane in some far-off land in the future.
A drug conviction for possession when you’re young and in college is similar to the flap of that butterfly’s wings. If it’s your first charge, the prosecutor may very well offer you a plea bargain that allows you to escape jail and move on with your life.
Tempted to take it? Hold on.
You need to think ahead about how that plea deal may really affect your life far into the future. A plea deal is the same as a conviction in court. You will now have a criminal history that labels you as a drug user. The long-term consequences of that easy plea deal for simple possession may include:
- A loss of your eligibility for federal financial aid. For a first offense, you lose your aid for a year — and may have to immediately repay some of the funds you’ve already borrowed.
- The loss of your education. Even though you can obtain financial aid again in a year following your plea deal, your college or university may not accept you back now that you have a record.
- Problems finding a job. You may think that a single conviction for drug possession doesn’t look that bad, given your talents. However, many potential employers see a plea deal for drug possession and automatically think a candidate has a “drug problem.”
- Problems getting housing. Getting past a background check to get an apartment in a nice area can be a nightmare with a drug conviction because landlords worry about what type of people you’ll bring around.
Don’t make a mistake by taking a plea deal on drug charges — no matter how minor the charge or convenient the deal being offered — until you’ve talked to a defense attorney. The consequence of a plea deal can be as devastating as a hurricane on your life. Someone from our firm can help you better understand the drug charges against you and make educated choices about how to proceed.