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Posted on in Drug Charges

Connecticut defense attorneyIn July, seventeen individuals were charged with federal drug trafficking of both powder and crack cocaine in central Connecticut. Although drug trafficking is also prohibited by state law, the defendants in this case face federal charges as a result of their use of the U.S. mail to transport the substances across state lines. In addition to drug trafficking, the individuals are charged with conspiracy to distribute, and conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute. If convicted, the defendants could face a minimum of ten years in prison.

All drug charges should be taken seriously, but federal drug offenses are even more aggressively investigated and prosecuted than their state counterparts, so if you have been accused of federal drug trafficking, it is critical to speak with an experienced Norwalk drug charges attorney who will aggressively represent your interests.

What Qualifies as Drug Trafficking?

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Connecticut defense attorney, Connecticut criminal lawyerIn 2015, the Connecticut Supreme Court issued a 7-0 ruling (that is, a unanimous decision) stating that individuals who were convicted before 2011 for possessing less than one-half ounce of marijuana could have their convictions erased. According to the Supreme Court, this is because Connecticut’s legislature approved a measure in 2011 that changed possession of a small amount of marijuana from a misdemeanor punishable by fines and/or jail time to a violation punishable only by a fine. This had the effect of “decriminalizing” – but not legalizing – possession of small amounts of marijuana. Because of this legislative move, the Connecticut Supreme Court concluded individuals convicted of this offense prior to its decriminalization were entitled to have their prior convictions erased from their criminal records.

This case (State v. Menditto) has implications not only for old possession cases but potentially for other individuals with prior convictions as well.

State v. Menditto – What Did the Court Decide?

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drug conviction federal student aidIf you are a college student and have applied and received federal grants and loans through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program, being convicted of a drug-related felony or misdemeanor will leave you ineligible to receive future financial assistance for a certain period of time from the date of your conviction.

How long that ineligibility will last depends on the number of convictions you have and the type of offense you are convicted of. A first offense for possession of drugs will leave you ineligible for one year. If it is your have been convicted for selling illegal drugs and it is your first offense, you will not be able to apply for federal aid for two year.

A second possession conviction will leave you without FAFSA assistance for two years. If you have received two or more convictions of selling drugs, or if this is your third or more conviction for possession, the law says you will not be eligible for federal student aid unless your conviction is overturned or legally ruled to be invalid.

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