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Drug convictions could derail student financial aid

As a Florida Gulf Coast University student, you likely enjoy many of the activities that come along with your education. You may make new friends, attend events, learn interesting subjects and find out more about yourself during these formative years. Of course, during this time, a little trouble may sneak its way in as well.

Though skipping a class or failing an assignment may not make a substantial difference in the long run, other actions could easily put your education and future off the rails. For instance, if you have drug-related charges brought against you, you could face legal consequences as well as lose federal financial aid in the event of a conviction.

Three strikes

Because your financial aid may play a crucial role in your ability to continue your education, losing eligibility for loans and grants could come as a devastating blow. Therefore, you may have a particular interest in how long you could lose eligibility if you face a drug charge conviction. For a first conviction relating to drug possession, you could lose aid for one year. You could then lose two years of aid for a second conviction and lose all eligibility for a third conviction.

For selling or conspiring to sell drugs, you get two strikes, not three. On the first offense, you lose financial aid eligibility for two years, and after a second offense, you lose all eligibility.

Regaining aid

Luckily, the potential does exist for regaining eligibility for financial aid. If you are a first or second offender, you could regain your eligibility early by completing an approved drug rehabilitation program. If you have lost all eligibility, you could regain aid eligibility if you pass two unannounced drug tests during rehabilitation.

Timing of arrest

As mentioned, in order to lose eligibility, you must be convicted of drug charges. However, the timing of the alleged criminal activity can also play a role. If your arrest took place while you were enrolled in classes and utilizing financial aid, you could lose your aid. On the other hand, if the arrest occurred when you were out of school and not using financial aid, you should not lose eligibility even if a conviction takes place.

No matter when or how the charges come about, you will certainly want to defend against them. Because convictions for drug charges can have serious impacts on your life, you may want to find out more information on your defense options and the best avenues for addressing your case.

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