Collateral Consequences of Drug Convictions

According to the American Friends Service Committee-Arizona, “Collateral consequences” are legal punishments and other restrictions imposed on people because of their criminal convictions that are in addition to any term of incarceration, fines, fees or supervision imposed by the courts as punishment for the crimes. As Gabriel Chin wrote in “The New Civil Death: Rethinking Punishment in the Era of Mass Conviction”:

“As a practical matter, every criminal sentence contains the following unwritten term: The law regards you as having a “shattered character.” Therefore, in addition to any incarceration or fine, you are subject to legal restrictions and limitations on your civil rights, conduct, employment, residence, and relationships. For the rest of your life, the United States and any State or locality where you travel or reside may impose, at any time, additional restrictions and limitations they deem warranted. Their power to do so is limited only by their reasonable discretion. They may also require you to pay the expense of these restrictions and limitations.”

On their website, The National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction lists 170 collateral consequences in the State of Arizona arising from a drug conviction. Some of the well-known ones are:

  • Prohibited possessor of firearms;
  • Loss of employment and employment opportunities;
  • Loss of public benefits such as student aid;
  • Loss of housing and difficulty finding housing; and
  • Loss of child custody

The collateral consequences of drug convictions in Arizona are wide ranging and serious. Criminal Defense attorney Gary Rohlwing has decades of experience in helping clients mitigate the collateral consequences of their drug convictions. Call or e-mail him today.

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