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FAQ: Colorado Criminal Law – What Federal Consequences Result From a Felony Drug Conviction?

The Collateral Consequences of a Felony Drug conviction are rarely explained to individuals making the decision to “take a plea” bargain or not.  The intention of this list is to alert those in this situation to the real long term consequences of pleading guilty.  In the interests of making a reasoned decision to resolve a case without a trial – I urge individuals to read through this – lengthy – but not completely exhaustive list so they are fully informed. 

Below is a list of the consequences that affect a person who has been convicted of a felony involving controlled substances. Many of these consequences would affect a person with any type of conviction; however, there are several, including the felony drug ban for welfare, which affect only those with a drug conviction.

This purpose of this list is to show the vast number of limitations arising from federal law that a person faces due to a criminal conviction, particularly one involving drugs.

– The person’s right to vote may be lost depending on individual state laws.

– The person is unable to serve on a federal grand or petit jury unless his or her civil rights are restored.

– The person’s passport will be revoked while he or she is only parole of supervised release if he used his passport or otherwise crossed an international border in the commission of the offense, unless an exception is granted for humanitarian reasons.

– The person may not enlist in any branch of the military unless the Secretary of Defense authorizes an exception.

– The person may not serve as a court appointed special advocate if it is determined that the act committed would pose a risk to children or to the court-appointed special advocate program’s credibility.

– The person may not work as a child care worker for the Department of Defense.

– The person may not work as a security screener or otherwise have unescorted access to secure areas of an airport if the conviction was in the 10 years prior to the date of investigation and would bar employment.

– If the person holds an airman certificate, it will be revoked if the offense was related to an aircraft or service as an airman, or the person knowingly engaged in such an activity and an appeal is unsuccessful. Even in the absence of the above referenced finding, the conviction may be grounds for a denial of an application for any certificate, rating, or authorization for one year after the date of the conviction or may be grounds for suspension or revocation of any certificate, rating, or authorization.

– The person may not work in a capacity requiring a Transportation Worker Identification Credential allowing unescorted access to secure areas of maritime facilities and vessels including as a merchant mariner, port truck driver, longshoreman, administrator, contractor, and rail worker if his or her conviction was within the seven years prior to his application for the TWIC or his release from incarceration was within five years prior to his application. He or she may apply for a waiver.

– The person may be denied a merchant mariner’s document if the conviction was in the past ten years.

– The person is barred for life from holding a commercial motor vehicle operator license if a commercial motor vehicle was used in the commission of the offense.

– The person may not receive a hazardous material endorsement to a commercial motor vehicle operator license if his or her conviction was within the seven years of his application, or if his release from incarceration was within five years of his application. He or she may apply for a waiver.

– The person may not work for a private prisoner transport company.

– The person may not serve in certain leadership roles for a labor organization including leadership, consulting, advising, or any role that requires decision making or has the potential for a share in profits for 13 years after the conviction or end of imprisonment unless the sentencing judge shortens the period or the person’s civil rights have been fully restored.

– The person may not to serve as an administrator, fiduciary, officer, trustee, custodian, counsel, agent, employee, or representative in any capacity of any employee benefit plan or as a consultant or adviser to an employee benefit plan for 13 years after the conviction or end of imprisonment unless the sentencing judge shortens the period or the person’s civil rights have been fully restored.

– The person may not work as a federal law enforcement officer.

– The person may not possess or sell firearms or explosives unless the conviction has been expunged, set aside or pardoned, or civil rights restored.

– The person may be disqualified from registering as a commodities dealer or work with a commodities dealer. Decision may be appealed.

– The person may not work for a local educational agency if it is determined that the crime bears upon his or her fitness to be responsible for the safety or well being of children; to serve in the particular capacity in which the employee or prospective employee is or will be employed; or to otherwise be employed by the local educational agency.

– The person may not work for a foreign exchange student sponsor program sponsored by the Department of State if he or she has direct personal contact with exchange students.

– The person may be disqualified from providing child care services for an agency of the Federal Government or in a facility operated by the Federal Government (or operated under contract with the Federal Government).

– The person may not work as a care provider for children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities if it is determined that the crime bears upon his or her fitness to have responsibility for the safety and well-being of children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities.

– If a health care provider, the person may not participate in federal health care programs for five years unless it is determined that the exclusion would impose a hardship to his or her patients. If it is a second offense, the bar is for ten years. Any additional offense results in a permanent bar. Right to a hearing and to request reinstatement.

– The person may not work for a hospice if he or she would have direct patient contact or access to patient records if the conviction was within the past three years.

– The person may be disqualified from receiving a broadcast license.

– The person may not recruit, solicit, hire, employ, furnish, or transport migrant or seasonal agricultural workers or be employed by such a person if the conviction was within the past five years. This decision may be appealed to an administrative law judge.

– The person may not obtain license or permit to import, manufacture or deal in explosive materials or work for such a person if denied following appeal.

– The person may not own, control or work in an FDIC insured depository institution or bank for ten years following conviction unless prior approval is given.

– The person may not work for a customs broker.

– The person may be disqualified, after hearing, from registering as a securities dealer or broker or work for a securities dealer or broker.

– The person may be disqualified, after hearing, from registering as an investment adviser or working for an investment adviser.

– The person may not apply for registration as a manufacturer, distributor, dispenser of, or to conduct research with controlled substances.

– The person may not hold a mortgage loan originator license for seven years.

– The person may be disqualified by the sentencing court from federal benefits, including the issuance of any grant, contract, loan, professional license, or commercial license provided by an agency of the United States or by funds appropriated by the United States. If it is the first conviction the ineligibility period may be up to five years. If it is the second conviction the ineligibility period may be up to 10 years.

If it is a third or subsequent conviction the ineligibility period may be permanent. If the person declares him or herself an addict and submits to long-term treatment for addiction or is otherwise deemed to be rehabilitated, the ineligibility period may be waived. The period of ineligibility may be suspended for the same reasons or also if the person has tried to get treatment, however it proves to be inaccessible or unavailable.

– The person may not be a foster or adoptive parent for five years following the conviction.

– The person may not be a part of a potential host family for a foreign exchange student or au pair sponsored by the Department of State.

– The person is ineligible for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration for any injury, or exacerbation of an injury, which occurred during the commission of the crime.

– The person may not serve as a representative payee for a beneficiary entitled to benefits from the Social Security Administration unless an exception is made after a determination is made that his or her certification as a representative payee would be appropriate notwithstanding the conviction.

– The person may be ineligible for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and food stamps depending on the state in which he or she lives.

– The person may have his or her drivers’ license suspended or revoked depending on the state in which he or she lives.

– The person may be ineligible for federal grant, loan or work assistance as a student if the conviction was for an offense that occurred while that person was receiving federal student aid. This includes Federal Pell Grants, Academic Competitiveness Grants, Federal Stafford Loans, Federal PLUS Loans, Federal Work Study, and Perkins Loans. He or she would be able to regain eligibility by completing a drug rehabilitation program.

– The person is ineligible for the Hope Scholarship Credit if the conviction was before the end of the taxable year with or within which the academic period ends.

– The person and his or her family may be denied admission to or evicted from public housing, after opportunity to dispute the accuracy and relevancy of the conviction.

– The person is ineligible to be a resident in the Armed Forces Retirement Home without exception, time limitation, or other waiver.

– If not a citizen of the United States, the person will be subject to removal proceedings (deportation).

– If not a citizen of the United States, the person is ineligible for naturalization. American


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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5445 DTC Parkway, Penthouse 4
Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111
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