What Are the Collateral Consequences of a Drug Conviction?

Most people who are facing any kind of drug charge in West Virginia have major concerns about possible terms of imprisonment and fines, but there are several other collateral consequences to these types of convictions that can negatively impact people for the remainder of their lives. If you are facing any kind of drug charge in West Virginia, make sure to retain the services of a Charleston criminal defense attorney.

The American Bar Association (ABA) once created the National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction, a free, online database attempting to identify all collateral consequences of convictions and 45,000 collateral consequences, organizing by the category of right or benefit, manner of imposition, duration, and triggering offenses. Research and advocacy center The Sentencing Project claims that 5.2 million Americans are now unable to vote because of felony convictions.

Consequences of Drug Convictions

Whether it is a West Virginia state court or a United States federal court, a felony conviction can carry numerous additional consequences.

Loss of Voting Rights in All Major Elections
The West Virginia Secretary of State notes that once a citizen is under felony conviction, the county clerk will cancel their voter registration following receipt of official notice of the conviction from a state or federal court. Following the felony conviction, the felon cannot vote until their sentence is complete, which can include being “off papers” for any parole or probation period. “Off papers” is a phrase that refers to a person no longer being subject to any kind of conditions or restrictions as part of their parole or probation. A person who is in jail for a misdemeanor conviction can apply for an absentee ballot by mail or vote in person when permitted.

Inability to Own a Firearm
West Virginia Code § 61-7-7 establishes that a person cannot possess a firearm if they have a conviction for a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment for more than one year.

Inability to Obtain a Visa for Overseas Travel
The ability of a convicted felon to leave the United States will depend on multiple circumstances. The first major concern is whether a felon completes their sentence, but the nature of their crime can be another aggravating factor. Even when a felon has the approval of the United States to travel, it is no guarantee that the country they are traveling to will be as welcoming to a convicted felon.

Inability to Travel to Canada or Mexico
Similar to the circumstances mentioned above, Canada or Mexico can deny entry to people with criminal records, even misdemeanors.

Inability to Obtain United States Citizenship
A person can face permanent denial of United States citizenship if they have a conviction for any aggravated felony. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) also establishes that an applicant cannot establish good moral character if they have violations of any controlled substance-related federal or state law during their statutory period.

Deportation and Severe Immigration Consequences for Non-Citizens
Simple possession of a controlled substance (other than 30 grams or less of marijuana) can result in deportation for aliens, and an alien who has a conviction for selling drugs or possessing drugs with an intent to sell can face mandatory deportation with no chance for lawful reentry to the United States.

Call Us Today to Schedule a Free Consultation with a Charleston Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are currently facing any kind of drug charge in West Virginia, you are going to want to find legal representation without delay. Cary Law Office understands how drug convictions can adversely impact people, and we will work to get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Our firm will fight to make sure that you can achieve the most favorable outcome for your case carrying the fewest possible penalties. You may call (304) 804-6369 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation that will let us sit down with you and really discuss your case in greater detail so we can have a full understanding of everything that is at play in your case.