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Larry P. McDougal - Attorney at Law
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Drug convictions can impact federal financial aid

If you depend on financial aid for school there are certain laws you should not break. In Texas, there are some criminal convictions that can bar you from receiving financial aid in the future. One of these is a drug conviction.

There are several points that come into the picture if you are convicted of a drug crime and you need financial aid to attend college. This includes both loans and grants that are issued to help cover the costs of higher education.

Current students with financial aid

If you are a student who is enrolled in college and currently receiving financial aid, think twice before you use drugs. When a drug charge is considered for the purpose of receiving future financial aid, the date of the offense comes into the picture.

This means that if you are arrested while you are an active student receiving financial aid and then convicted, you likely won't qualify for future financial aid. If you are arrested while you aren't a student, but are convicted while you are a student, your future financial aid likely won't be affected.

Length of ineligibility

The amount of time that you are ineligible for financial aid depends on what type of conviction and how many prior offenses you have. The penalties for possession aren't as harsh as those for conspiring to sell or selling drugs in Texas.

  • If you are convicted of possession of drugs for a case that meets ineligibility requirements, you will face a one-year period of ineligibility on the first offense.
  • The second offense comes with a two-year period.
  • A third conviction means that you are permanently ineligible.

If you are convicted of selling or conspiring to sell, the first offense is a two-year ineligibility period. The second conviction is a permanent disqualification.

Interestingly, your time of ineligibility doesn't start on the date of the offense. Instead, it begins on the conviction date. You will have to meet certain requirements to get your eligibility back. For example, you might be able to receive eligibility faster if you go through drug rehab and can pass unannounced drug tests.

Fight for your rights

It might help to fight the drug charges you are facing. In order to lose your eligibility, you have to be convicted. Get started on your defense strategy early. Consider all options to avoid a conviction and minimize the negative impact on your life.

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