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

Drug Possession Laws and Consequences in Illinois

drug possession, Illinois laws, criminal laws, Illinois criminal defense lawyer, criminal defense attorneyThere are many different types of drug crimes in Illinois, usually related to possession, delivery, or manufacturing of illegal substances. Drug possession charges are particularly common.  Local residents often face possession charges following a search after being stopped on the street or pulled over in a car.

In Illinois, criminal drug/controlled substance possession is governed primarily by the Illinois Controlled Substances Act and the Cannabis Control Act.

What Penalties Do Possessors Face?

Potential penalties depend on the type of drug possessed and the amount. In addition, there may be aggravating circumstances that increase the penalties, like if the possession occurs near a school or if the illegal drugs are found while one in the possession of a gun.

Generally, possession of a controlled substance in Illinois is a felony, which is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor. Drug possession felonies in Illinois cover Classes 1 through 4, with 1 being the most severe and 4 the least.

Possession of heroin, cocaine, and morphine is a Class 1 Felony, with punishment including incarceration of anywhere from four to 50 years, depending on the amount. For example, possession of 15-99 grams carries a penalty of four to 15 years, and 900 or more grams will land the possessor in jail for 10 to 50 years. This also includes financial penalties of up to either the value of the drugs, or $200,000, whichever is greater.

Possession of 200 grams or more of peyote or amphetamine could result in four to 15 years in prison, as well as a $25,000 fine. LSD possession also falls under Class 1, and has a somewhat similar structure of jail time and financial penalties to heroin, cocaine, and morphine (although the amounts are measured slightly different). In addition, certain amphetamines carry a somewhat analogous sentencing plan and similar financial penalty to other drugs, depending on the amount possessed. For the drugs just mentioned, possession of amounts less than the minimum for a Class 1 Felony will result in the less serious Class 4 Felony, which can mean one to three years in prison, and up to $25,000 in fines.

Defending Drug Possession Charges

While facing possession changes can be overwhelming, it is important to remember that the burden is on the prosecution to prove your guilt. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may have options to mount a strong defense.

For example, in some cases the authorities overstep their constitutional bounds in their effort to secure evidence. The U.S. Constitution includes very specific provisions regarding when officers can conduct a search and “seize” you or your property. If police officers run afoul of those rules, then anything that they obtain in violation cannot be used against you in court. As a practical matter, this often means that the charges against you are dropped. After all, it is impossible for a prosecutors to prove illegal possession if they cannot use as evidence the fact that illegal drugs were found.

Even where constitutional violations are not evident, a legal professional may be able to work with prosecutors to reach a favorable plea agreement that spares you jail time and provides a better opportunity to move on with your life.

Get Legal Help

The law on drug possession is complex, and covers an incredibly wide range of substances and penalties besides the brief overview discussed here. The manufacturing and delivery of drugs carries even more severe consequences. If you are arrested for drug possession, Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. can put its depth and breadth of experience to use for your legal defense. We have offices in Oak Brook and Naperville, and can be reached at 630-472-9700 for a free consultation.

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