Experienced Nashville Defense Firm

Can a Drug Conviction Lead to a Loss of Financial Aid?

If one of your children attends college in Nashville or another part of Tennessee, he or she may, like many college students, go to a few wild parties or engage in a little experimentation now and then. When that experimentation involves drugs, however, it can lead to some serious collateral consequences, one of which might be a loss of financial aid.

Virtually all drug convictions, whether they be for possessing drugs, selling drugs or intending to sell drugs, can cause your college student to lose his or her financial aid for a set amount of time.

Ineligibility periods

The amount of time you can expect your college student to lose access to financial aid after a drug conviction varies based on certain factors, such as the type of drug charge faced and whether your child has ever offended before. If your child is a first-time drug offender and he or she receives a conviction for drug possession, anticipate him or her losing financial aid for one year. For second-time offenders, the ineligibility period lengthens to two years, and third-time offenders typically lose financial aid eligibility indefinitely. Sales and intent to sell convictions will set your college student back even further in terms of financial aid eligibility, with first-time offenders losing eligibility for two years, and second-time offenders, indefinitely.

Timing matters

Whether your college student will lose financial aid access after he or she receives a drug conviction will depend on when he or she was arrested. To lose financial aid, the arrest must have occurred during a time when he or she was in school and actively receiving federal assistance. Convictions for crimes that occurred over the summer, or before he or she actually began freshman year, generally do not affect financial aid eligibility.

While criminal consequences for drug crimes can be tough enough to deal with, collateral consequences can impact your college student's life even further. In some cases, depending on circumstances, your child may be able to plead to a lesser charge or work out another type of arrangement. He or she may even avoid a conviction altogether. Contact an experienced drug defense lawyer concerning these possibilities.