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The lingering effects of Georgia drug convctions

Being charged with a felony in Georgia is obviously serious business. Drug crimes have always been prosecuted aggressively; even what might seem to some people to be relatively minor drug infractions may lead to significant penalties, including time in prison.

For drug crimes, though, it doesn't end there. Employers may ask prospective workers to disclose drug-related convictions, which could keep someone with that kind of criminal record from being hired. It might also lead to having driving privileges taken away for a period of time, making it hard to get to a job for those lucky enough to have one. In addition, eligibility for federal student loans can be compromised if you are convicted of a drug offense.

As a result, many people who have drug convictions often find it difficult to integrate themselves back into the workforce and society as a whole. With limited options -- inconvenient transportation, difficulty finding an employer willing to hire a convicted felon, and higher education possibly off the table as a choice -- some reach the point where they need to seek help simply in order to put food on the table.

Even this can be an ordeal. Several states, including Georgia, restrict drug-law convicts from being eligible to receive food stamps. This can sometimes lead people to feel they have no choice but to resort to illegal activity to make money -- a choice that could send them back to prison.

Fortunately, the trend among states is to change this policy in an attempt to give people a better chance at staying out of prison. Georgia's law may not last for much longer, in fact. Even so, avoiding a conviction in the first place is really the best way to avoid these restrictions altogether.

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