One way convicted felons may attempt to turn their lives around involves continuing their education. A college degree could open new doors for Florida residents who want to put past criminal behavior behind them. Student loans might make higher education accessible to someone unable to afford college, but a past drug conviction may create barriers.
Drug convictions and federal aid
Would-be students interested in federal grants or student loans must qualify for them, as these forms of aid come with no guarantees. Whether someone considers it fair or relevant, the application for federal student aid asks about drug-related convictions. Those who answer in the affirmative may not be automatically disqualified, but they must complete a worksheet to determine if they are eligible. Some might not be.
Those who receive approvals for loans and grants might find themselves in a problematic situation if arrested and convicted on drug charges. A drug conviction might reverse eligibility. Even worse, the student may face requirements to return the funds.
The rules connected to drug conviction-related ineligibilities are somewhat flexible. Each person’s situation is different, and the would-be or current student might receive aid despite legal woes. Still, it is of course best to avoid a conviction when possible.
Challenging drug charges
A criminal defense strategy will vary based on the specifics of the charges. If the prosecution cannot prove someone knew drugs were inside their property or that the person had constructive possession, the charges could be weak and face dismissal. Cases that go to trial must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which could be difficult given the circumstances.
Other issues, such as illegal searches and seizures, or no probable cause, may result in suppressed evidence. Ultimately, a defendant can explore many avenues to avoid a conviction.