Tampa Cannabis Decriminalized - Complete Text of Tampa Cannabis Ordinance

"Many of the citations issued are on or near major highways, 
leading us to believe they may be associated 
with traffic stops and searches."

UPDATE May 1, 2016

Decriminalization of Cannabis in Tampa has generated some data on where the citations are being issued. We just obtained a map showing the locations of the first batch of citations issued in the new City of Tampa Marijuana Citation law. Many of the citations issued are on or near major highways, leading us to believe they may be associated with traffic stops and searches. The information about each detention for alleged marijuana ordinance violations can be found by clicking on the red pins on the cannabis ordinance violation map.

MAP: Civil citations for marijuana-related violations





Map of Tampa Marijuana / Cannabis Citations Issued

"arrests and prosecutions for cannabis will continue"

The City of Tampa Florida, has just passed an ordinance decriminalizing possession of cannabis (less than 20 grams). Hash oil and derivatives are still felonies. The complete text of the new cannabis ordinance is below. The short version: Fines; For a first offense $75.00; For a second offense $150.00; For a third offense $300.00; For a fourth or subsequent offense $450.00.

UPDATE April 8, 2016

Tampa Bay area law enforcement and the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office have notified at least one media source that arrests and prosecutions for cannabis will continue for those arrested by anyone other than the Tampa Police Department. So, for example a fan arrested at Tampa Stadium by a Hillsborough County Sheriff or a Florida Highway Patrol State Trooper will still be prosecuted, even though the stadium is inside the Tampa City Limits. Beyond that, cops still have the power to forfeit a vehicle used during the commission of cannabis offenses.

UPDATE April 1, 2016

Today the new law takes effect. But, Tampa Police Department Attorney Kirby Rainsberger says that civil citations will be issued ONLY when the suspect is not a minor; there are no other criminal charges; suspect can be released on own recognizance; and the suspect has no unpaid fines. Check out The Tampa Tribune Marijuana story here. The Mayor of Tampa's comments and a History of the Marijuana Ordinance is here.

 "doesn't make us any less anti-drug, but it's a realization 
that the penalties that have been imposed have done 
more damage to the trajectories of young peoples' 
lives than the offenses have warranted."

Mayor Bob Buckhorn

Why Didn't Tampa Repeal Its Marijuana Forfeiture Law?


Tampa did not change its forfeiture ordinance, so expect police to be financially motivated to continue misdemeanor marijuana busts. The City council did not repeal Tampa City Ordinance 14-30. The Tampa law provides that it is a violation of this section and a motor vehicle shall be subject to impoundment whenever the vehicle was used, intended, or attempted to be used to facilitate the commission or attempted commission of any misdemeanor violation of F.S. Ch. 893 (Florida's Drug Law). See Video at the bottom of this article.

Tampa Remains the King of Marijuana Forfeitures


One media source has reported "No law enforcement agency in West/Central Florida seizes more vehicles under Florida's Contraband Forfeiture Act than the Tampa Police Department. And half of the 1,500 vehicles it seizes annually are either kept for agency use or turned into cash, either through settlements with the original owner or through sale at auction." The source reported "Tampa city ordinance 14-30 sets a flat $500 fee to get a vehicle back after a misdemeanor arrest, regardless of what happens to the charges. The city reports collecting the fee more than 500 times last year."

Tampa Cannabis Decriminalized, Tampa Cannabis Ordinance
Tampa Cannabis Decriminalized
Complete Text of Tampa Cannabis Ordinance


ORDINANCE NO. 2016-__

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF TAMPA, FLORIDA, CREATING TAMPA CODE SECTION 14-62 MAKING POSSESSION OF TWENTY GRAMS OR LESS OF CANNABIS UNLAWFUL, MAKING POSSESSION OF DRUG PARAPHERNALIA AS DEFINED HEREIN UNLAWFUL, PROVIDING FOR CIVIL PENALTIES, AMENDING TAMPA CODE SECTION 23.5-5 TO SPECIFY THE AMOUNT OF CIVIL FINE FOR VIOLATION, AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE. 

WHEREAS, Florida Statute Subsection 893.13(6)(b) provides that the possession of twenty (20) grams or less of cannabis (marijuana), intended only for consumption of the possessor, is a misdemeanor criminal offense; and

WHEREAS. Florida Statute Subsection 893.147(1) provides that the possession of
drug paraphernalia as defined in Florida Statute Section 893.145 is a misdemeanor criminal offense; and

WHEREAS, the Tampa City Council finds that particularly where the citizen's only
known offense at the time of arrest is possession for personal use of a small amount of cannabis, or paraphernalia for administration thereof, criminal penalties and potentially lifelong criminal record are disproportionate to the severity of the offense; and

WHEREAS, the Tampa City Council finds that established civil penalties and
procedures are more commensurate with the offense of possession of twenty grams or less of cannabis or paraphernalia when that is the only chargeable offense.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF TAMPA, FLORIDA:

Section 1. That Tampa Code Section 14-62 is hereby created to read in its entirety as follows:


Sec. 14-62. Possession of cannabis or paraphernalia.


(a) Definitions.

(1)  Cannabis means all parts of any plant of the genus Cannabis, whether growing or not and the seeds thereof. The tern does not include the resin or oil extracted from any part of the plant or "'low-THC cannabis" as defined in Florida Statute § 381.986 if manufactured, possessed. sold, purchased, delivered, distributed, and dispensed in conformance with § 381.986.

(2)  Paraphernalia means any object used, intended for use, or designed for use, in ingesting, inhaling, smoking, or otherwise introducing cannabis into the human body.

(b)  Any person who possesses twenty (20) grams or less of cannabis as defined herein except as otherwise authorized by law commits a violation of this subsection.

(c)  Any person who possesses paraphernalia as defined herein except as otherwise authorized by law commits a violation of this subsection.

(d)  A person charged with possession of cannabis under subsection (b) may not be charged with possession of paraphernalia under subsection (e) arising out of the same incident.

(e)  Penalties and Procedure


(1)  The provisions of Tampa Code Chapter 23.5 shall apply to all violations charged pursuant to this section.

(2)  Violation of this section is deemed to be an irreparable or irreversible violation punishable by civil penalty as a Class I offense.

(3)  If the applicable civil penalty is not paid within 30 days from the citation date, in addition to the procedure provided in Tampa Code Chapter 23.5 in the event of such nonpayment, the defendant will no longer be eligible for the alternative enforcement procedures provided by this section.

Section 2. That Tampa Code subsection 23.5-4(e) is hereby amended as follows:

(f)  After issuing a citation to an alleged violator, a code enforcement officer shall deposit the original and one (1) copy of the citation with the  City Attorney's Office. If the citation is not paid within thirty (30) days of the date of issuance. the City Attorney's Office shall forward the original and one (1) copy of the citation to the county court.

Section 3. That Tampa Code Subsection 23.5-5(a) is hereby amended by adding the underlined part as follows:

Sec. 23.5-5 Schedule of violations and penalties.



(a)  Violations of the following sections of the Tampa City Code are considered Class I violations and will carry a fine of:

For a first offense $75.00
For a second offense $150.00
For a third offense $300.00
For a  fourth or subsequent offense $450.00


Sources:

Tampa, Florida Marijuana Cannabis Ordinance
https://atg.tampagov.net/sirepub/meetresults.aspx?meettype=Council%20Regular&cscRedirectID=497
http://legacy.wtsp.com/story/news/investigations/2014/11/25/policing-for-profit-tampa-police-seizures/70096900/
http://www.tampagov.net/sites/default/files/planning/files/supp_81/supp_81_ch14_9_10_13.pdfbr /> http://www.tampagov.net/

Tampa Police Easy on #Cannabis at #Gasparilla?

Are Tampa Police Easy on #Cannabis at #Gasparilla?

2019 Drug Crimes Arrests

ZERO



Felony Arrests

1 Domestic Battery
2 Battery on a law enforcement officer
2 Criminal mischief

Misdemeanor Arrests

1 Obstruct Oppose w/o Violence
2 Minor Possession Alcohol
3 Disorderly Conduct

Video - Tampa Police and Cannabis Arrests




What are Tampa Police Doing About Marijuana Possession?


I'm driving down Bayshore Boulevard scene of the largest party in the State of Florida, the Gasparilla pirate fest. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of police out here and there wasn't a single arrest for cannabis; or for that matter for any drug crime.

So answer the question, "What are Tampa police doing about marijuana and arresting for marijuana?" I would say this year's festival would establish that they are doing nothing about marijuana criminally.

But, there is a civil citation program where they can issue a ticket for possession of marijuana. For more details:

https://go2attorney.com/2019/01/17/staying-safe-and-festive-at-gasparilla-arrest-criminal-defense/

Drug Crimes Defense - Tampa Board Certified - 813-222-2220

Drug Crimes Lawyer Tampa

Drug Crimes Lawyer Tampa



"Free Phone Consultation directly with a Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer"


Casey Ebsary is a Board Certified Trial Lawyer with diverse criminal litigation experience in drug cases.

813-222-2220


Fast, Easy, and Free Phone Consultation directly with a Board Certified Criminal Trial Lawyer.  I will personally speak to you about your charges.

Conveniently Located: Tampa, Florida 

Law Office of W.F. ''Casey'' Ebsary Jr
2102 W Cleveland St
Tampa, Florida 33606
(813) 222-2220
centrallaw@centrallaw.com

Google Review Links




Call Casey at 813-222-2220 or Toll Free 1-877-793-9290.


Check Out our Reviews

Drug Crimes Defense Attorney Reviews

"Casey's strong arguments during the hearing made all the difference ..."

5.0 / 5 stars

More Reviews are Here:





    Drug Crimes Defense Attorney

Violation of Probation in Tampa Bay, Florida - New 1 Minute Video

Violation of Probation in Tampa Bay, Florida
Violation of Probation in Tampa Bay, Florida

Violation of probation cases are usually handled by the judge or in the division that the case was originally heard. Many of these cases can be resolved by trying to complete the conditions of probation before a court date.

Violation of Probation for Drug Cases in Tampa Bay, Florida


If a case can be handled before a warrant is issued, then jail may be avoided. Many of the judges in both felony and misdemeanor cases issue warrants for violating probation without a bond. That means that you will stay in jail until a court date is set.

In this 1 minute video, Casey Ebsary notes that if you have been charged with Probation Violation, Violation of Probation, or VOP in Florida, a Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney can and will protect your rights. Some Florida circuit courts have special divisions that handle violation of probation allegations.



Drug Treatment for Probation Violation


A Tampa Drug Lawyer noted that a celebrity returned to a California to continue her drug rehabilitation. A judge had ordered her to enter drug treatment. She had previously filmed the VH-1 reality show "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew."

Tampa Hillsborough County, Florida Circuit Judge Daniel Perry asked Florida probation officials contact California probation officials. Treatment was ordered late last year. Hillsborough County and Tampa Bay Area Judges are more and more inclined to offer drug treatment instead of jail.

Tampa Drug Lawyer for Violation of Probation


Often a probation violation comes when the highly technical conditions of probation have been violated. We can and help. Sometimes, violation of probation can occur for being arrested for a new charge. We may be able to help there also. We want to prevent or minimize time spent in jail. Video Courtesy CentralLaw.com - Probation Violation

Violation of Probation? Call Today For a Free Phone Consultation 1-877-793-9290 .

Federal Violation of Supervised Release


Federal Violation of Supervised Release
Casey is available to help in federal violation defense
matters by contacting him Toll Free 1-877-793-9290.


Sentencing guidelines apply in federal cases where United States district court judges are deciding what to do about alleged violations of conditions after sentencing in a federal case. These judges have much discretion. Although they use the United States sentencing guidelines as an advisory, but not mandatory, resource to decide what, if anything should be done when our federal clients are before the court.

In a strongly worded and important per curiam summary reversal today, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its holding in Kimbrough that "district courts are entitled to reject and vary categorically from the crack-cocaine Guidelines based on a policy disagreement with those Guidelines." 

In Spears v. United States, __ S.Ct. __, 2009 WL 129044 (Jan. 21, 2008), the Court explained what Kimbrough meant:

[E]ven when a particular defendant in a crack cocaine case presents no special mitigating circumstances – no outstanding service to country or community, no unusually disadvantaged childhood, no overstated criminal history score, no post-offense rehabilitation – a sentencing court may nonetheless vary downward from the advisory guideline range. The court may do so based solely on its view that the 100-to-1 ratio embodied in the sentencing guidelines for the treatment of crack cocaine versus powder cocaine creates "an unwarranted disparity within the meaning of § 3553(a)" and is "at odds with § 3553(a)." The only fact necessary to justify such a variance is the sentencing court's disagreement with the guidelines – its policy view that the 100-to-1 ratio creates an unwarranted disparity.

See Spears, __ S.Ct. at __, 2009 WL 129044 at *2 (quoting United States v. Spears, 533 F.3d 715, 719 (8th Cir. 2008) (Colloton, J., dissenting)).

Spears is the latest indication that the Supreme Court is running out of patience with appellate courts and government arguments that attempt to artificially narrow judicial discretion post-Booker. Use Spears in any case involving a guideline that does not exemplify the Commission's characteristic institutional role – meaning any guideline that was not the product of (1) reliance on empirical evidence of pre-guidelines sentencing practice, or (2) review and revision in light of judicial decisions, sentencing data, and comments from participants and experts in the field.

These would include the following guidelines, among others:

  • Career offender
  • Child pornography and other sex offenses
  • Drugs
  • Economic crimes
  • Firearms
  • Immigration
  • Limitations on the availability of probation or other alternatives to
  • Incarceration
  • Relevant Conduct

For violation of supervised release sample briefs, litigation strategy memoranda and further resources on how to raise these attacks, click  "Deconstructing the Guidelines

Busted on Video | Photographer Arrested

Civil Rights, consent to search, Copwatch, Drug Bust, Michael P Maddux, Probable Cause, search warrant,
Citizen Journalist

Drug Bust on Video


Tampa Drug Defense Attorney Michael P Maddux has recently reviewed a case where there was a Drug Bust on Video. The citizen photographer was arrested. Criminal Defense issues will be was there a Search Warrant, Probable Cause, or Consent to Search? The video mentions a "warrant", but the police office claims consent to search the vehicle.

Civil Rights issue will be can the police arrest a citizen reporter recording police actions on a city street? What do you think?



Documentary | Copwatch: These Streets are Watching

Dog Sniff Delay Of 20 Minutes is Too Much - Case Dismissed


drug dog, dog sniff, supreme court drug dog Rodriguez v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 1609 (2015)
Dog Sniff Delay Of 20 Minutes is Too Much 

Dog Sniff Delayed in Florida

Doggie delayed is Justice denied?

This guy was driving on I-75 in Alachua County near Gainesville Florida home of the Florida Gators. The cop claimed he had cut off a truck, perform a traffic stop, and then called for a drug dog. This case has the shortest delay I have ever seen in any drug dog case since the Supreme Court ruled recently. Rodriguez v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 1609 (2015).

The delay was at most 20 minutes. This court essentially ruled that any delay without a reasonable suspicion was unconstitutional. Doggie delayed is Justice denied?

One commentator summarized, "Trial court erred in denying motion to suppress drugs found after dog alerted to presence of narcotics in vehicle where traffic stop was delayed in order to perform dog sniff and there was no basis in record to conclude that reasonable suspicion existed to justify prolonging the stop . . . ." Florida Law Weekly 

Excerpts From Dog Sniff Opinion


"driving on I-75 when he was pulled over by an officer due to an improper lane change that cut off a semi-truck. At the initiation of the traffic stop, the officer called for a K-9 unit to perform a sniff search"

 "sixteen minutes later, and twenty minutes into the stop, the dog alerted to the presence of narcotics, and Wooden was placed under arrest and charged with possession of a controlled substance"

"the trial court found that the traffic stop was delayed, characterizing it as “de minimis” and a “very little” delay. As Wooden points out on appeal, the decision in Rodriguez does not frame the quantum of permissible delay in these terms. Rather, the “critical question . . . is not whether the dog sniff occurs before or after the officer issues a ticket, . . . but whether conducting the sniff ‘prolongs’—i.e., adds time to—‘the stop.’” 135 S. Ct. at 1616."

"because there is no basis in the record to conclude that reasonable suspicion existed to justify prolonging the stop . . . we REVERSE the trial court’s order denying . . .  dispositive motion to suppress and REMAND with instructions to vacate his conviction."
Rodriguez v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 1609 (2015)
20 Minutes is Too Much - Drug Case Tossed



Complete Dog Sniff Opinion


FIRST DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL
STATE OF FLORIDA
_____________________________
No. 1D16-2077
_____________________________
GREGORY WOODEN,
Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA,
Appellee.
_____________________________
On appeal from the Circuit Court for Alachua County.
Mark W. Moseley, Judge.
April 18, 2018
PER CURIAM.

Gregory Wooden appeals his conviction for possession of narcotics, arguing that the traffic stop that led to his arrest was unconstitutionally prolonged in order to perform a dog sniff search.
At approximately midnight on September 30, 2015, Wooden was driving on I-75 when he was pulled over by an officer due to an improper lane change that cut off a semi-truck. At the initiation of the traffic stop, the officer called for a K-9 unit to perform a sniff search of the exterior of Wooden’s car. After its arrival approximately sixteen minutes later, and twenty minutes into the stop, the dog alerted to the presence of narcotics, and Wooden was placed under arrest and charged with possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. Wooden moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that the original traffic stop that led to his arrest

2

was prolonged in order to perform the dog sniff search, contrary to the dictates of Rodriguez v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 1609 (2015). The trial court denied the motion, stating that Wooden was “not unreasonably detained during the traffic stop as [the officer] was still in the process of issuing a written warning to the Defendant while the narcotics K-9 alerted to the Defendant’s vehicle.” Appellant pled nolo contendere to the possession charge, but reserved his right to appeal the denial of the dispositive motion.

In its oral pronouncement, the trial court found that the traffic stop was delayed, characterizing it as “de minimis” and a “very little” delay. As Wooden points out on appeal, the decision in Rodriguez does not frame the quantum of permissible delay in these terms. Rather, the “critical question . . . is not whether the dog sniff occurs before or after the officer issues a ticket, . . . but whether conducting the sniff ‘prolongs’—i.e., adds time to—‘the stop.’” 135 S. Ct. at 1616.

Because the trial court concluded that time was added, which delayed the traffic stop before the dog sniff was performed, it was necessary for the trial court to make a baseline finding that the officer had reasonable suspicion to detain Wooden for the prolonged period during which the sniff occurred. Although an officer “may conduct certain unrelated checks during an otherwise lawful traffic stop. . . ., he may not do so in a way that prolongs the stop, absent the reasonable suspicion ordinarily demanded to justify detaining an individual.” Id. at 1615. Because reasonable suspicion was not addressed below, and because there is no basis in the record to conclude that reasonable suspicion existed to justify prolonging the stop in accordance with Rodriguez, we REVERSE the trial court’s order denying Wooden’s dispositive motion to suppress and REMAND with instructions to vacate his conviction. See Maldonado v. State, 992 So. 2d 839, 843 (Fla. 2d DCA 2008).

RAY, MAKAR, and WINSOR, JJ., concur.

_____________________________
Not final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
3
_____________________________
Andy Thomas, Public Defender, Richard M. Bracey, Assistant Public Defender, Tallahassee, for Appellant.
Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Heather Flanagan Ross, Assistant Attorney General, Tallahassee, for Appellee.

Mysterious Marijuana Delivery from UPS and The Party Animal

Mysterious Marijuana Delivery Cannabis and UPS in Polk County
Mysterious Marijuana Delivery
The cops in Polk County Intercepted a package at United Parcel Service. They got a search warrant for the package opened it and found 10 pounds of weed. The cops then dressed as a UPS delivery driver and tried to deliver the package to a residence in Lakeland. The residents wisely declined to accept the delivery and were observed walking around their yard. One guy had a hairstyle that was described as being like Popeye with a pipe painted green in his mouth. The cop said that that was consistent with a person who was waiting for a marijuana delivery and detained him. Court ruled even a "pot-smoking sailor hair design" is not enough to save this bust.

"Mr. Mason was observed to have a design cut into his hair that apparently resembled Popeye (the famed cartoon sailor) with the pipe spray-painted green. Mr. Mason explained to the detectives that the color green signified marijuana."

The cop then threatened to search a vehicle, call a dog, and then searched everything. Ultimately drugs were found everywhere. A motion to suppress was filed in the trial court and the motion was denied. However, the district court of appeals just ruled that the strange Popeye hair design and pacing frantically around your yard does not constitute grounds to detain people for a marijuana investigation and search.


"Accordingly, we reverse the circuit court's denial of the motion to suppress as it pertains to Mr. Johns, as well as the judgments and sentences that were entered based upon his plea agreement. "


Excerpts from the Opinion:

A mysterious parcel package was intercepted while en route to be delivered.  It contained approximately ten pounds of marijuana.  Someone sent the package.  Someone was presumably going to pick it up.  The principal question this appeal presents is whether investigating detectives had a reasonable suspicion that in the driveway of the package's destination.  We hold they did not. 

In early December 2012, a detective monitoring shipments in a UPS facility discovered a suspicious looking package from "The Party Animal" addressed to a fictitious person named "Raymond Maven" that was on its way to be delivered to an address on West Dossey Road in Lakeland.  He obtained a search warrant, opened it, and found about ten pounds of marijuana in heat-sealed bags.

As the detectives watched, Detective Edison, disguised as a UPS driver, approached the duplex, knocked on the unit door, and waited.  No one ever answered, and so the disguised detective left without leaving the package behind.  A short while later, Mr. Whitaker emerged from the unit's doorway and appeared to look around the front door and yard before returning inside. 

We need not recount the lengthy trail of warrants and evidence that proceeded from the arrest of Messrs. Mason and Johns.  Suffice it to say that there were more illegal drugs found in Mr. Mason's car at the gas station, more incriminating evidence found on Mr. Mason's cell phone, and, pertinent here, the entirety of the evidence the State would use against Mr. Johns in the case at bar.

Mr. Johns filed a motion to suppress this incriminating evidence.  After hearing the evidence described above, the circuit court denied the motion.

Mr. Mason, who had been seen at the same duplex earlier and whose pot-smoking sailor hair design and furtive actions at the duplex (pacing in the driveway, talking on his cell phone, looking around) were "consistent with someone that is looking for a package of cannabis as opposed to someone that is looking to rent a room"

And to the extent Mr. Mason's actions could be said to have generated a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity (an issue we do not reach here), Mr. Mason's appearance and activities that morning would not supply a reasonable suspicion that Mr. Johns was connected with those activities, absent some evidence of an actual connection.

Having determined he was illegally stopped, we readily agree with Mr. Johns that the consent he gave to search his vehicle was invalidated by his unlawful detention.  We have previously explained:
If a person has been illegally seized by police and subsequently consents to a search, "the State bears the burden of showing by clear and convincing proof that there was an unequivocal break in the chain of illegality sufficient to dissipate the taint of the law enforcement's prior illegal activity."

The vehicle's mere presence near the scene is insufficient to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that its occupants were connected . . . .

"Accordingly, we reverse the circuit court's denial of the motion to suppress as it pertains to Mr. Johns, as well as the judgments and sentences that were entered based upon his plea agreement. "



The Marijuana Court Opinion:



Can Drug Charges Destroy Opportunities for Student Financial Aid?

FAFSA No Student Aid After Drug Conviction
No Student Aid After Drug Conviction
Can a student lose financial aid for the possession or sale of illegal drugs that occurred while receiving federal student aid?

Yes. If you are convicted of possessing or selling drugs after you submit your FAFSA, (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) you must notify the financial aid administrator at your college immediately. You will lose your eligibility for federal student aid and will be required to pay back all aid you received after your conviction.

“Have you been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs 
for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid 
(grants, work-study, and/or loans)? Yes [or] No”

Drug Conviction Questions for Federal Student Financial Aid Worksheet Question 23

Drug Conviction - FAFSA Student Aid Application
FAFSA Student Aid
Application

Source: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bw1ZJqIwtQE4NlBXLTJzeHYxMGs0N3RuaXBrVnB2ZWFMZ3hZ

How to regain eligibility for Financial Aid after a conviction?


The rules require that someone who has become ineligible due to a drug conviction must complete an approved rehabilitation program or pass two drug screens administered by a drug rehab program. Once either of these options have been completed, you can become eligible for financial aid again. Failure to comply with these rules can result in liability to return any financial aid received while the person was ineligible due to a drug conviction.


Drug Convictions and Federal Student Aid


If you are convicted of possessing or selling drugs after you submit your FAFSA, you must notify the financial aid administrator at your college immediately. You will lose your eligibility for federal student aid and will be required to pay back all aid you received after your conviction.

Students who are receiving financial aid can have their financial aid eligibility suspended if they are convicted while they are receiving federal student aid student grants, student loans, or work-study benefits. When a financial aid form (FAFSA) is completed, there is a question that asks about drug convictions or offenses that may have occurred while receiving student aid. If a student answers "yes" to this question, they must complete the worksheet that we have included below.

Students seeking financial aid must complete a worksheet because it was reported that they had a conviction for possessing or selling illegal drugs or because they left question 23 on the Student Financial Aid Worksheet or the question was not answered or left blank. Here is a sample worksheet sent to a student.

Federal Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet



 
Source: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw1ZJqIwtQE4ejh3Z2lFQmNic3JyRlpuNXllZ042RlV4ejdj/view?usp=sharing 

 Here are the key questions that will impact your eligibility:

1. Have you ever received Federal Title IV financial aid? Answer “No” if you have never received Federal student grants, Federal student loans or Federal Work Study. You should also answer “No” if you have never attended college.

If Yes, go to question 2 on this worksheet.

2. Have you been convicted for the possession or sale of Illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving Federal Title IV financial aid (grants, loans and/or Federal Work Study)? Only include federal and/or state convictions. Do not include any convictions that have been removed from your record or that occurred before you turned age 18, unless you were tried as an adult.

If Yes, go to question 3 on this worksheet.

3. Did the offense for possessing or selling illegal drugs occur during a period of enrollment for which you were receiving Federal Title IV financial aid (grants, loans and/or Federal Work Study)?

If Yes, go to question 4 on this worksheet.

4. Have you completed an acceptable drug rehabilitation program since your conviction?

An acceptable drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests, and:

(1) Be qualified to receive funds from a federal, state or local government or from a federally or state-licensed insurance company; or

(2) be administered or recognized by a federal, state or local government agency or court or a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic or medical doctor.

If Yes, you are eligible for Federal Title IV financial aid. Sign the certification on page 2 and return this form to One- Stop Student Services

If No, go to question 5 on this worksheet.

5. Do you have more than two convictions for possessing illegal drugs? Only count convictions for offenses that occurred during a period of enrollment for which you were receiving Federal Title IV financial aid (grants, loans and/or Federal Work Study).

If Yes, you are not eligible for Federal Title IV financial aid for this school year unless you completed an acceptable drug rehabilitation program or passed two unannounced drug tests administered by an acceptable drug rehabilitation program. Even if you are not eligible for Federal Title IV financial aid, you may still be eligible for aid from the State of Florida.

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/eligibility/criminal-convictions#incarcerated

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/eligibility/regain#drug-convictions

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/eligibility/criminal-convictions#suspended-eligibility

Federal Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet