Interviewer: In your experience, how do you think drug charges affect people’s lives?
A Conviction Stays on Your Record and Is Viewable by Employers
Brian Geno: If you are convicted of any kind of drug charge, it will be viewable because it’s going to be on the public record. Potential employers and others can search for it and find it. If there’s a diversion program, maybe it won’t be quite as obvious, but if you are convicted, there will be a record of it.
If they want to apply for a particular job, it could show up and it could prevent your being hired. If you want to apply to a college or university, that’s typically a question on the application. That could prevent you from getting to college of your choice. If you want to apply to the military or stay in the military, it will show up and it could prevent you from getting or staying in.
You Can Face Losing the Job You Currently Hold
Oftentimes, a person will have a security clearance as their employment requirement. In the Northern Virginia area, there are lots of people who rely on a security clearance so they can work. If they’ve had a drug conviction, they will certainly have to disclose it and very well may lose their security clearance and therefore their job simply because they had a drug conviction.
Potential Loss of Driver’s License
Another very common side effect of a drug conviction is a loss of driver’s license. Even as small as possession of marijuana going all the way up to the more serious drugs, you can lose your driver’s license. By losing your driver’s license in Virginia, you really are putting yourself in a difficult situation on the job market as well as taking care of your family.
Northern Virginia Has Limited Public Transportation Resources
It’s difficult in most places to deal with not having a car because there is a lack of public transportation. That’s a big one. Many times, people’s ability to keep their car is their predominant concern when they’re going to court.
Another one is the embarrassment of a conviction with their family and friends. It’s certainly as vice to use drugs and it’s shameful and it hurts. It looks really bad if there’s a domestic relations case and one of the two spouses has a drug conviction. It can definitely stand in the way of them keeping or getting visitation or custody.
A Drug-Related Conviction Is Costly
Those are the few of the consequences, not to mention the expense of having to go to the programs, having to take time off from work to go through the treatment, having to pay for a lawyer, having to pay for probation, having to pay court cost. Those things can really add up and sometimes it takes a long time for people to recover from just the loss of money.