If you have been charged with a drugs offence, you’ll no doubt have concerns about what that could mean for your future employment prospects. To discover how so, read on…

Being charged with a drugs offence – no matter how minor – can have plenty of damaging consequences. In certain circumstances, drugs offences can lead to heavy penalties, including extended prison time for more serious offences. But, what will it mean for your future employment prospects?

Drug charges come hand in hand with certain connotations, so it’s understandable to assume that you’ll be automatically ruled out of being able to land a job in the future. However, that’s not necessarily the case. Whether you’ve been found guilty of

possessing drugs with intent to supply, or production of a controlled drug, there may still be a way to find employment opportunities in the future.

So, to learn more about what your employment prospects may look like following a drug charge, keep reading…

What Drug Charges Can You Receive?

In the UK, there are a wide range of different drug-related offences you can be charged for. To put it simply, you can be fined or face a prison sentence if you are found to be:

  • Taking drugs
  • Carrying drugs on your person
  • Manufacturing drugs
  • Selling, dealing or sharing drugs (supplying)

The penalty you receive will depend on the type of drug involved, the amount and whether you are found to be dealing or producing it.

As an example, government guidelines say that the maximum penalty someone can receive for possession of Class B drugs such as cannabis is up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine. On the other hand, supply and production could lead to a 14-year prison sentence and an unlimited fine.

These are just guidelines and not exact indicators of the sort of punishment someone might receive, but they are worth keeping in mind.

What Impact Can a Drug Charge Have on Employment Prospects?

If a potential employer is made aware of your drug charge, then it may have a bearing on the position you’re applying for. Employers will frequently run detailed background checks on all of the people they are considering for a role, which means that they will usually find out if you have a criminal record.

Having a drug charge on your criminal record may affect your chances of being able to land a job in certain industries. These include law enforcement, legal practice, nursing, commercial driving or any positions that require you to work with children.

However, all is not lost. If you’re charge is a relatively minor on, then your employer will likely review your record against your application any interviews and will make a balanced judgement based on your suitability for the role.

Of course, the more serious your drug charge, the more carefully an employer will approach your application.

Should You Tell a Potential Employer About Your Drug Charge?

Yes, always. You might think that being upfront about your drug charge is likely to damage your employment prospects but, in reality, it won’t have much of an adverse effect.

One way or another, an employer is likely to find out about your criminal record, so it’s much better for them to be aware about it from the outset. If they employ you under the pretence that you don’t have a drug charge on your record, they may feel as though it’s suitable to let you go for misleading them.

Can You Get Help Finding a Job with a Drug Charge?

Finding a job with a drug charge can seem like a daunting task. If you’ve already been turned down for various jobs because of your record, then you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s a near-impossible task.

That doesn’t have to be the case! There are a number of different organisations which help people with drug charges to find a job, as well as promoting employers who are willing to give people with a criminal record a chance of employment.

Ban the Box

Ban the Box is a campaign to increase the number of opportunities for people with convictions to compete for jobs. Launched in 2013, the campaign is part of the fair access to employment project, encouraging fair chance of recruitment by employers in the UK.

It aims to remove the ‘tick box’ concerning criminal convictions, meaning employers ask about criminal convictions later in the recruitment process.

The Employers’ Forum for Reducing Re-offending (EFFRR)

The EFFRR is a collective of local and national employers that provide training and employment opportunities for offenders.

As part of their membership regulations, employers have to agree to supply data regarding the number of people with convictions they employ and commit to support the wider recruitment of people with convictions.

Working Chance

Working chance is the UK’s only recruitment consultancy for women who are leaving the criminal justice system.

They provide bespoke rehabilitation and employment support for candidates, challenging stereotypes by showing that people with convictions make successful and valued members of staff at some of the UK’s biggest public and private sector companies.

Are You Looking for a Job with a Drug Charge?

In summary – it’s not always going to be an easy ride finding a job with a drug charge on your record. However, as long as you’re proactive and are forthcoming, then you’ll be doing everything in your power to ensure that you’re a prospect to consider for potential employers.

As mentioned, there are plenty of organisations that are working to improve employment prospects for people with criminal records. It’s encouraging to see that a number of well-known businesses are making strides to employing people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Do you have any more questions about getting employed with a drug charge? Or perhaps you have your own advice to share if you’ve already managed to find a job. Feel free to leave a comment below so we can keep the discussion going!