A drug conviction may put your federal benefits at risk

On Behalf of | Apr 13, 2020 | Drug Charges

South Carolina residents may find it surprising to learn that a drug possession or trafficking conviction may result in their losing access to certain federal benefits. The Bureau of Justice Assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice administers the Denial of Federal Benefits program.

Our firm has experience defending clients facing drug charges.

The DFB program affects numerous federal benefits

The DFB program has a broad reach that may cause convicted drug offenders to lose federal contracts or taxpayer-funded entitlements like licenses, grants and loans:

  • Doctors may forfeit their right to prescribe medications.
  • Business owners may lose Small Business Administration loans or the right to enter contracts with the federal government.
  • Pilots may face revocation of their Federal Aviation Administration licenses.
  • Researchers may risk eligibility for grants.
  • Broadcasters may lose their Federal Communications Commission licenses.

DFB penalties may depend on the nature of your offense

DFB penalties are within a court’s discretion. For your first conviction for drug possession under state or federal law, a court may impose a penalty that makes you ineligible for federal benefits for up to one year. For subsequent drug possession convictions, a judge may extend this ineligibility period for up to five years. A judge may also require you to complete a drug treatment program and community service.

A court may order even longer periods of ineligibility for violations of state or federal laws that prohibit distribution of a controlled substance. A first conviction may subject you to loss of benefits under the DFB program for up to five years. For a second conviction, your ineligibility period may last up to 10 years. You may face mandatory permanent ineligibility for a third or subsequent conviction.

Unfortunately, even an addiction to prescription drugs may subject you to criminal drug charges. You may visit our website for more information about drug crimes.