When addiction takes over, in addition to the physical and the emotional havoc to the individual’s life, it oftentimes brings with it legal troubles associated with drug-related crimes. These crimes are partially related to the need to support the habit and partially due to the feelings of invincibility which can become particularly pronounced with substance abuse. Those who experience legal trouble often end up with a felony on their record which compounds their problems of finding employment when they get sober. While each drug charge is different, having any drug offense conviction on record can make it very hard to find employment, and that’s why many states allow many types of drug charges to be expunged, giving the recovering individuals a second chance in life.
Removing a nonviolent substance abuse-related felony record depends on if the individual has no other arrests or convictions, he or she is a first time offender or was under the age 18 at the time of conviction. To get relief from the legal troubles stemming from substance abuse and addiction, the completion of an addiction treatment program may be mandatory, depending on the state.
The court understands that once those who have proven their intent and their desire to become sober, usually by completing treatment and abiding by the rules that were set forth for them, they become less of a risk to themselves and the society at large. In those cases that the criminal record can not be expunged, It may be tricky but not impossible to find employment. Employers and the general public these days are much more understanding and empathize with struggling alcoholics and drug addicts than the past. Past legal troubles can be overlooked and those with past convictions can get a pass provided they can show that all are in their past and they are now a different person than what their records show.
Therefore, the most important step on the path to recovery and a normal life is to get treatment and to show commitment to staying sober. This is easily accomplished if one stays out of trouble and sober for a year or so. After a year is behind them, generally, those with past troubles with drugs and addiction have a case to show the judge — sustained recovery and employment.
Everyone deserves a second chance and recovery is possible. You will achieve it if you believe it.
Here are a few tips to consider:
- Seek help and use resources from legal aid where necessary
- Speak to recovery support people to help with finding resources
- Consider various recovery options with an open mind and open heart towards the process
- Focus on the future regardless of whether you think it works out or not
Although it may feel impossible to move forward knowing that a felony record lingers over, there is always hope for renewal and restoration in recovery. Never give up. There is a life worth living, a life of dignity, working for a living and being a member of the community is only the beginning.
If you or someone you love has a drug-related felony, it helps to look at specific steps that need to be taken in order to have a clean record. For more information about expungement laws, please visit your state’s court website in which the criminal record happened.
Florida Center for Recovery
Clinical Excellence & Compassionate Care in a Healing Environment
If you or someone you love is struggling with drugs and alcohol, Florida Center for Recovery offers specialized professional treatment.
For more information regarding treatment for individuals struggling with addiction and related mental health conditions, contact us at (800) 851-3291. You may also visit our addiction treatment programs’ page for a better insight into our diverse comprehensive therapies.
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.