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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700Available 24/7

Drug Possession Charges in Illinois

Posted on in Drug Crimes

IL defense lawyerEven as the status of some types of drugs, such as cannabis, has changed with advances in medical science, possession, and use of most street drugs remains a serious crime. Illinois, in particular, has raised the sentences for drug possession and distribution in recent years, which means that if you find yourself charged with such an offense, it can mean serious penalties upon conviction.

The Elements Are Clear

There are three major elements to a charge of drug possession in Illinois. Possession can be charged if one is caught with either the listed drug or a controlled substance analog, which has a chemical composition similar to any listed controlled substance (such as certain designer drugs, for example). The elements are: 1) establishing the substance in question as controlled; 2) showing the defendant knowingly possessed that substance; and 3) the substance was in that person’s possession (either actual or constructive possession qualifies).

Depending on the amount you are discovered with, you may be charged with possession with intent to deliver, rather than with mere possession; it is plausible for law enforcement to assume possible distributive intent if someone is caught with a large quantity of drugs under Illinois law. The penalties for possession with intent to deliver are much more significant than those for simple possession, because of the potential harm to society as a whole. Someone charged with this offense is more likely to be charged with multiple counts of the same crime, because of the minimum amount required for one charge.

Most Charges Are Felonies

Because drugs are considered to harm the public at large, possession and possession with intent to deliver charges are generally quite harsh. After a change in the law, most Illinois drug charges are felonies in this day and age, so as to drive home the seriousness of the issue. Simple possession of certain amounts of specified drugs is charged as a Class 1 felony in most cases, with an attendant jail sentence of anywhere between four and 50 years, depending on the drug and the amount in question. Fines are usually also charged, though judges may exercise more discretion in that regard.

Possession with intent to deliver is uniformly, with rare exceptions, charged as a Class X felony, which is the most severe felony designation in Illinois. Class X felonies come with mandatory minimum sentences, which means that if convicted, even first-time offenders will spend time behind bars; probation is not an option. The sentence lengths assessed for possession with intent to deliver are roughly comparable to those for simple possession, but with the mandatory minimum in play, the stakes are obviously higher.

Seek Experienced Legal Assistance

Drug charges in Illinois are extremely serious, and if you are facing one or many, having an experienced attorney on your side is critical. Kathryn L. Harry & Associates has handled many cases of this type, and our passionate DuPage County criminal defense attorneys will work hard to ensure that you are treated fairly. Call our offices today to set up an initial consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072005700K402

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072005700K401

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