As of 2021, it is still illegal to possess marijuana in Iowa. If someone is convicted of possession of marijuana, they face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000.00 fine along with surcharges and court costs. Should the court decide not to suspend the defendant’s sentence, the defendant must serve at least two days in jail for a marijuana conviction. See Iowa Code Section 124.401(5). Moreover, there is a marijuana conviction on your record which will affect your ability to obtain certain types of employment.
Aside from the penalties for a marijuana conviction, the defendant faces losing his or her state benefits which include any grants, loans, professional licenses, and commercial licenses from the State. This means any sort of grant or loan from the State for college or secondary school will be gone with a marijuana conviction. People, generally future college students, visit my office quite frequently to discuss why they were unable to get a state loan or grant because of a marijuana conviction or any other conviction under Iowa Code Section 124. Simply put, a marijuana conviction can and will affect your ability to get college loans. (See Iowa Code Section 901.5(11))
Additionally, a conviction under Iowa Code Section 124 can prevent you from getting federal benefits which includes any grants or loans from the federal government. This includes FAFSA loans from the federal government. In other words, if you do not come from a wealthy family, a person’s dream of getting a college degree becomes much more difficult without the financial aid of government loans. (See Iowa Code Section 901.5(10))
If you are charged with possession of marijuana, you should contact a marijuana defense lawyer to go over your options. If this is your first time being charged with possession of marijuana or a controlled substance, there is a good chance that you will be eligible to receive a deferred judgment. Although it is not guaranteed, should the court grant you a deferred judgment you will have the opportunity to have the charge removed or dismissed from your record so that you can legally say you were never convicted of the crime. This is so very important for keeping your student loans.
If you have any questions regarding your marijuana or possession of controlled substance charge, do not hesitate to contact the Feld Law Firm and we would be happy to answer your questions.