Blog

1231 N. Ashland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622

Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Chicago drug crimes defense attorney

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.

...

Illinois drug lawyerA study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that one in four people, between the ages of 18 to 20, had used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes one or more times in their lives. Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin are one of the most commonly abused types of medication. Students may overestimate the benefits of using prescription stimulants and underestimate the risks, which can lead to negative consequences for the student’s health and personal life.

Reasons Behind Drug Use

College students may believe that using prescription drugs will enhance their academic performance, but research has shown that this may not be the case. In fact, studies have found that college students who misuse prescription stimulant medication received lower grades than their peers.

...

Chicago criminal defense attorneyIn a recent memo, Unites States Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” when it comes to prosecuting drug crimes. This is a complete reversal of the direction drug crimes prosecution was going under the previous administration.

A Departure From Recent Years

Under the Obama administration, then-Attorney General Eric Holder ordered prosecutors to change the way they handled non-violent cases, including those involving drug charges, directing them to allow lower-level agencies—such as local and state prosecutors—to handle these types of cases. Over the past several years, as the drug epidemic has spread throughout the country, there has been more focus placed on criminal justice reform, particularly figuring out ways to get those facing drug charges the help and rehabilitation they need instead of just throwing them into prison. The Justice Department under the Trump administration, however, appears to be rolling back those reforms and instead, going back to harsher penalties and implementing mandatory minimum sentences. 

...

Chicago criminal defense attorneysA total of 29 states have adopted medical marijuana laws and eight have legalized the drug for recreational use. Several others have also started to decrease the legal consequences for illegal possession of cannabis and related products. Illinois was one of the ones to recently join these ranks, bringing fairly substantial changes to the state’s approach to charges related to marijuana.

Small Possessions Considered a Civil Penalty

Last year, Governor Bruce Rauner approved the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana. Now, citizens found with up to 10 grams of the drug receive only a civil penalty, which is similar to a traffic ticket. Consequences include a fine of $100 to $200 per offense. In addition, citations are automatically expunged twice per year.

...

Chicago criminal In a recent post on this blog, we discussed in detail how the approach to marijuana has evolved in recent years in the state of Illinois. Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed a measure to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, taking low-level possession of the drug from a potential felony to a civil offense comparable to a parking ticket. For many, the new law is a welcome change, as, under the previous statutes, a person could be prosecuted for low-level drug possession just for riding in the same car as another person with marijuana in his or her possession.

The new law, however, has also created a number of questions, particularly in regard to how law enforcement officers approach an investigation into possible drug possession. With low-level possession of marijuana no longer considered a crime, could drug sniffing dogs be largely out of job?

Reasonable Suspicion, Probable Cause, and Drug-Sniffing Dogs

...

Chicago criminal defense attorneyIn June 1971—following the cultural and sexual revolutions of the 1960s—President Richard Nixon declared war on drugs. Over the next several years, the Nixon administration dramatically increased the size and scope of federal anti-drug agencies and began pushing for harsh sentences for even non-violent drug offenders. In the decades since, the United States government and others around the world have continued to fight against drugs, locking up millions and creating a thriving black market for illegal substances of all kinds. In many states, including Illinois, a person can be arrested just for riding in the same car as a person in possession of drugs.

Time for Change

After 45 years, however, there is growing pressure throughout the country for a new approach to America’s drug concerns. Perhaps the most telling indication of the evolution that is taking place is the national attitude toward marijuana. While the federal Drug Enforcement Agency continues to consider marijuana a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act—alongside drugs like heroin and LSD—individual states are taking action on their own. A Schedule I drug is one that has no currently accepted medical use, yet 28 states and the District of Columbia have created legal medical marijuana programs. Following this year’s general election, there are even six states that have legalized recreational use of the drug.

...

Chicago criminal defense attorneyIn last week’s post on this blog, we talked a little bit about the two different types of drug possession. We discussed that actual possession refers to having illegal drugs on your person or in your immediate vicinity while constructive possession refers to the presence of illegal drugs in your home or car. The difference in the two types of possession is a key point in determining whether you could face criminal consequences if a guest or passenger brings illegal drugs into your home or car, but it is not the only consideration. Your knowledge of the situation is also a factor; you cannot stop what you do not know is happening.

Knowledge of the Drug’s Presence

The Illinois Controlled Substance Act provides that it is illegal for a person to knowingly possess a prohibited substance. “Knowingly,” however, is very important part of the law. In seeking a conviction, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you knew that the drugs were present, whether they were found in your car, your home, or in a purse or backpack. Depending upon the situation, proving your knowledge can be very difficult.

...
Illinois State Bar Association American Bar Association Hispanic Lawyer Association of Illinois Super Lawyers
Back to Top