Chicago Drug Possession Lawyer
In the course of my practice, I have defended hundreds of clients in drug possession cases. While each one is unique, there is a set of underlying principles common to every drug case. My familiarity with these principles can give a defendant an advantage as we move forward through each part of a case.
Drug possession charges of any kind are serious and can be defined in two primary ways.
Persons charged with simple possession means that the prosecutor is attempting to prove that a defendant knowingly had an illegal or a controlled substance on their person, or that they were physically in control of the drug. The key here is that they had knowledge about the drug in question. It’s one thing to have a baggie of cocaine in your pants pocket, but quite another if you pick up a friend’s backpack and deliver it to them as a favor, not knowing what the Another way possession is defined is by constructive possession. This means that a person does not physically have drugs on them, but that they are able to control the drugs in question, in some way or form. For example, the police may discover drugs in a person’s car or at their home, allowing for the implication that the owner had control over the drugs. Defenses are a bit more complicated in these instances, but given the facts of the case, often times I am able to Cocaine Possession
Possessing cocaine under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act is illegal under federal and state laws in all 50 states. It is a powerful narcotic that is highly regulated, and possession charges can be brought at both the state and federal levels.
If convicted, even if you have no prior convictions, possession of 15 grams or less means you can be sentenced to up to three years in jail and fined $25,000. Penalties escalate when certain thresholds are met, all the way up to possession of 900 grams or more, which can net a convicted defendant a mandatory prison term of between 10 and 50 years. With the addition of any number of aggravating factors, penalties can be even harsher.
Of course, no two cases are exactly alike, and in my experience, I have been able to negotiate plea bargains in exchange for a more lenient sentence in those instances where it may be in my client’s best interests. In other cases, I can mount a strong defense by looking closely at whether a client’s rights were violated by an illegal search and seizure, or if other rights were violated during the course of an investigation.
Heroin is a highly addictive and potentially lethal drug, and as such, the State of Illinois doles out harsh penalties related to the possession, sale and trafficking of the drug.
From years of defending cases of heroin possession, there can be leniency in some situations for first-time offenders. And in the past, through Illinois drug courts, I have been able to help secure sentences that focus primarily on getting into drug diversion programs designed to help someone kick the habit, with less focus on penalizing them for their misdeeds.
However, all possession cases of heroin in Illinois are considered felonies, and while negotiating a drug diversion program would be optimal, it is also wise to look at other defenses as well. Some of these defenses can include a lack of intent, duress, coercion, entrapment, chain of custody issues or similar propositions.
Crafting an effective defense is critical because the stakes are so high. Simply possessing quantities of heroin of as little as 100 grams can net a 30-year prison term. When 900 grams or more are involved, that prison term can rise to up to 50 years and a $200,000 fine.Cannabis Possession
In Illinois, the possession of cannabis is governed by the Cannabis Control Act. This code relates to the possession, sale and manufacture of cannabis throughout the state.
While many states have become more relaxed in their laws toward the possession of cannabis, in Illinois it is still illegal to possess any amount. Illinois does allow for medical marijuana use.
Depending on the amount of marijuana you are caught possessing, you can either face misdemeanor or felony charges. Possession of up to 10 grams is a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years in prison (although that’s rarely the case) and a fine of up to $25,000.
Possessing quantities above 10 grams is considered a felony, and fines and jail time will rise dramatically. Possession of between 500 and 2,000 grams, for example, could net a prison sentence of up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000. Over 5,000 grams is a class X felony that could net a 30-year prison term and a $200,000 fine.
There are additional fines and penalties for possessing and selling marijuana to a minor or distributing marijuana in a school zone. Possessing any kind of drug paraphernalia could also result in jail time and fines.
Controlled Substances Possession
Possession of a controlled substance is rarely a simple matter, despite what you may think. While some drug laws have relaxed in recent years, the vast majority of laws that are still in place carry a significant bite for anyone who is convicted.
Possession of any kind of illegal controlled substances will vary in the degree of penalties you face if convicted, based on several factors. The two main determining factors are what kind of illegal substance you are caught with, and the amount. Possession charges are broken up into different classes, such as narcotics like heroin, cocaine or methamphetamines, or hallucinogens such as ecstasy or LSD, or cannabis, which has special considerations all by itself.
In some instances, if you are caught with as little as one gram of certain substances, you could be looking at a prison sentence of several years and tens of thousands of dollars in fines. The courts will also look at whether or not you have enough of a quantity of other drugs that you might be considered as someone who is trafficking illegal substances. Quantities will vary depending on the drug involved.
In addition, if you are caught with a sizable quantity of cash in addition to drugs, the courts will consider that you are actively involved in the sale and trafficking of drugs, and you could face even more severe penalties.
From my many years of experience handling possession cases, there are several possible defense strategies I can employ. I will fully explore if an unlawful search and seizure has taken place, if you were entrapped in the course of a drug sting operation, or if there are ways to challenge that the drugs were even in your possession at the time you were arrested. In short, there are many ways to raise a reasonable doubt which could lead to the dismissal of charges.Delivery of Controlled Substances
Possession crimes can be challenging, but even more so when law enforcement decides to pursue delivery of controlled substances charges as well.
From my experience, delivery charges tend to focus on cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, LSD, and methamphetamines. To be able to prove that a defendant was going to commit an act of “intent to deliver” it must be proven that a defendant was going to distribute or sell, the drugs in their possession. This obviously is much easier to prove if the drugs have already been distributed by the time law enforcement gets involved.
Possession with intent to deliver starts with amounts of as little as 1 gram which can earn a prison sentence of up to 7 years and a $200,000 fine. Depending on the quantities involved, sentences will continue to range upward, topping out at 900 grams or more that can bring a prison sentence of between 15-60 years in prison with no possibility of probation. A maximum fine of up to $500,000 may be imposed as well.
When you are facing charges like these, you have little choice but to retain the best attorney to reduce the risk of a lengthy sentence as much as possible. I have been defending cases like these for over a decade, and I can use that experience to benefit you by protecting your rights and your quality of life as much as possible, and helping you to move past a difficult period in your life.