Felony possession of cocaine can result in serious jail time

If you’re convicted of felony drug possession charge, chances are, you’ll be looking at serious jail time and heavy fines.  The type of drug you are charged with possessing and the amount will determine if you can be charged with a felony or not.  Among the most serious of possession charges is the felony possession of cocaine.

For possession of as little as 15 grams of cocaine, you can be charged with a Class 1 Felony, which is the most serious of all possession felonies.  Penalties will escalate based on the amount, and can range from incarceration of as little as four years to up to 50 years if you’re convicted of possessing 900 or more grams.  You can also face fines of up to $200,000 as well.

However, an experienced attorney will be able to explore several defense options, depending on your particular situation.  Some of those defense strategies may include:

Entrapment.  Law enforcement routinely sets up sting operations, but when officers or informants induce a suspect to commit a crime that he or she would not have committed otherwise, a claim of entrapment may be a possibility.

Planted drugs.  This is less common and can be difficult to prove, especially since an officer’s testimony carries considerable weight in a courtroom, but it is a viable defense in some cases.

Unlawful search and seizure.  All people are guaranteed the right to due process under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, and this extends to making sure that search and seizure procedures were carried out in an appropriate way.  If the defendant’s rights were violated, then any drugs that were found may not be used as evidence at a trial.

In addition to these strategies, an experienced attorney will also closely monitor the stated facts, testimony, evidence and procedural processes, looking for errors that can turn the tide in favor of a defendant, resulting in acquittal.

The Law Office of David M. Smith serves clients in Chicago, Cook County and surrounding Illinois communities.

Defending against felony retail theft charges

Also known as shoplifting, felony retail theft takes place when someone takes property or services from a retail establishment, such as a department store, a specialty shop or any other kind of business that does business with the public.

It can be committed in a number of ways, including tampering with merchandise price tags, switching merchandise from one container to another, of simply walking away with the product without paying full retail value.

The exact type of felony that a person can be charged with will depend on certain factors.

It is a Class 4 felony to commit shoplifting when the property has a combined total value of $300 or less, and the person has previously been convicted of theft-related crimes, or they use an emergency exit in the commission of the crime.  Fines can be up to $25,000 and up to three years in jail.

It is a Class 3 felony when the combined value of the property is $300 or less and the shoplifting accusation involved theuse of an emergency exit and there are previous theft-related convictions.  It is also a Class 3 felony if the property has a combined value of $300 or more without the other circumstances.  Fines can range up to $25,000 and up to five years in jail.

A Class 2 felony is the charge when the value is over $300 and an emergency exit is used. Fines can range up to $25,000 and up to seven years in jail.

There are a few defenses that can take place to either refute or lessen the impact of these charges.  First time and low-level offenders may be offered the chance to participate in a diversion program, which can include paying restitution and community service.  After terms have been met, the criminal charges will be dropped.

An attorney may also be able to negotiate on behalf of a defendant and strike a plea bargain, that will involve pleading guilty to lesser charges or a lesser sentence.  These types of deals are often decided by the prosecutor depending on the facts of the case.

The Law Office of David M. Smith serves clients in Chicago, Cook County and surrounding Illinois communities.