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b2ap3_thumbnail_drugs_20210331-223128_1.jpgIn Illinois, the criminal consequences for possession of illicit substances vary significantly by the type and quantity of the drug. Possession of cocaine or heroin are felony offenses punishable by several years to several decades in prison. The greater the quantity of the substances allegedly in your possession, the harsher the penalties. Second or subsequent offenses and cases involving certain aggravating factors such as possession near a school are penalized more heavily. Criminal charges for possession of an illicit substance have the potential to dramatically impact your life. If you have been arrested for possession of heroin or cocaine, it is crucial to assert your rights and build a strong defense against the drug possession charges.

Drugs Were Discovered During an Illegal Search and Seizure

Many drug-related arrests are the result of law enforcement officers searching an individual’s personal property. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens’ privacy and prohibits “unreasonable” search and seizure of property. Typically, to search a person or his or her property, a police officer must have:

  • Verbal consent from the property owner/occupier or the person being searched
  • A valid search warrant
  • A valid arrest warrant
  • “Probable cause” to believe that criminal activity is occurring

Police cannot simply stop and search someone without a valid reason for doing so. If evidence including drugs or drug paraphernalia is discovered by police during an unlawful search and seizure, that evidence may be inadmissible during any subsequent criminal proceedings. If key evidence in a criminal case was acquired through an unjustified search, the case may be dismissed entirely.

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IL defense lawyerAlthough a limited amount of recreational marijuana is legal in some states now, including Illinois, there are still many drugs that are considered illegal in the state. To combat the prevalence of drug use and its negative consequences, the Illinois Controlled Substances Act criminalizes the knowing possession, manufacture, and delivery of specific controlled substances. Under this law, certain dangerous drugs are categorized by Schedules. The possession of drugs like heroin or cocaine can carry significant penalties, such as a long time behind bars. In addition, if someone possesses certain drugs and intends to sell them, the punishments increase. A criminal conviction of this nature can impact an individual’s personal and professional life. That is why anyone facing such charges needs a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney who can provide quality legal representation to achieve a positive outcome.

Illinois Drug Schedules

According to Illinois law, controlled dangerous substances (CDS) are divided into five “schedules” based on factors, including their potential for abuse leading to addiction and if they are approved for medicinal purposes. Schedule I drugs are most likely to be abused and are not acceptable for medicinal use. Schedule V drugs are the least likely to be abused and are currently accepted for medical use. Examples of CDS for each schedule include but are not limited to the following drugs:

  • Schedule I: opiates, opium derivatives, hallucinogens
  • Schedule II: oxycodone, codeine, methamphetamine
  • Schedule III: buprenorphine, steroids, ketamine
  • Schedule IV: alprazolam, diazepam, tramadol
  • Schedule V: substances containing minimal amounts of narcotics

Penalties for CDS Possession

The criminal penalties for the possession of heroin, cocaine, morphine, LSD, and some hallucinogens are Class 1 felonies in Illinois. However, the penalties depend on the amount of the substance involved in the crime. For instance, the smaller amount, the less jail time as shown below:

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IL defense lawyerAlthough recreational marijuana was legalized in Illinois this year, there are still many other drugs that are classified as illegal in the state. These include cocaine, LSD, heroin, Methamphetamines, and Ecstasy. In addition, owning or carrying certain drug paraphernalia can result in serious criminal charges. The consequences of a conviction can be severe, from fines to a lengthy prison sentence, not to mention a stain on your record. Many people may not know that simply having an item that is used to ingest or make a drug is a crime. If you or someone you know is facing any type of drug crime charge, it is essential to seek the legal guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

What Is Paraphernalia?

In Illinois, the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act defines drug paraphernalia as any materials or equipment used in the illegal production, processing, packaging, storing, hiding, testing, or use of drugs. Materials that are used to manufacture Methamphetamine are also illegal, but they are covered under a separate statute.

The law specifically identifies certain items as drug paraphernalia including:

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IL defense lawyerMarijuana will soon be legal for recreational purposes in Illinois, however, there are still specific dispensaries that will sell the drug. Other illegal substances such as opioids and narcotics are not to be sold in the state or brought into Illinois from other states/countries. Selling or trafficking illegal substances is breaking the Illinois Controlled Substance Act, and can lead to a drug crime conviction punishable as a felony. Consequences vary depending on the amount of drugs involved in the violation.

What Is Illinois Controlled Substance Act?

Illinois created the Controlled Substance Act to clearly define what would happen if a drug dealer is caught during a sale or if someone is found trafficking in drugs from other states. The law covers controlled substances, counterfeit substances, and controlled substance analogs.

The Act includes detailed accounts for what type of felony punishments a person can face if they are charged with drug dealing of substances such as cocaine, morphine, methamphetamines, and LSD:

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IL defense lawyerTen states in the United States plus Washington D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana, but Illinois is not one of them. Though the state may be getting closer to legalizing the substance, it is still considered a drug crime to possess weed. This includes the cultivation of cannabis plants.

There are serious consequences to possession of marijuana charges, but punishments for growing the plants are even worse. According to Illinois law, growing cannabis plants can be a misdemeanor or a felony charge with punishments varying according to the number of plants grown:

  • Five or fewer plants: Class A misdemeanor charge, one year in prison and $2,500 in fines.
  • Five-20 plants: Class 4 felony charge, up to six years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
  • Over 20-50 plants: Class 3 felony charge, 2-10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.
  • Over 50-200 plants: Class 2 felony charge, 3-14 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.
  • Over 200 plants: Class 1 felony charge, 4-30 years in prison and $1000,000 in fines.

Of course, there are more penalties that one may face if the prosecution discovers that the plants were grown with the intent to sell or distribute the cannabis.

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