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Huffing Law In Illinois

Posted on in Arrest

huffing lawInhaling volatile substances because of their intoxicating effect is sometimes referred to as “huffing.” People who engage in huffing may experience highs similar to alcohol use, along with symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, and mood changes. When used in large quantities, such inhaled chemicals may lead to impaired judgment, permanent brain damage, or even cardiac arrest and death.

This practice is gaining popularity among young people in Illinois and throughout the country. The practice is particularly dangerous because it is difficult for users to predict how unfamiliar chemical substances will affect the body when inhaled. Additionally, the practice is becoming more widespread because some young people view it as a more innocent, cheaper, and legally safer alternative to taking illegal drugs or binge drinking.

Illinois State Anti-Huffing Law

The practice of huffing and the practice of selling compounds that the seller knows will be used for huffing is illegal in Illinois. Specifically, under Illinois’ Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act, it is unlawful to “ingest, breathe, inhale or drink” any substance “for the purpose of inducing a condition of intoxication, stupefaction, depression, giddiness, paralysis or irrational behavior, or in any manner changing, distorting or disturbing the auditory, visual or mental processes.”

It is also illegal to distribute such an intoxicating substance to a person under age 17 without the consent of the minor’s parent or guardian when the distributor knows or should know that the minor intends to use the substance as an intoxicant.

The law also prohibits knowingly selling one of the specified substances to people of any age when the person selling or distributing knows or should know that the recipient intended to use to substance as an intoxicant. The prohibited substances include chemicals found in paint thinners, aerosol sprays, household cleaning products, and household beauty products.

The law exempts retail merchants and medical practitioners.

Penalties for Huffing

Sale or distribution of the above-named substances shall amount to a Class 4 felony.

Violation of the law shall amount to a Class A misdemeanor for consuming chemicals containing specified alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, or scopolamine. Inhalant use of other substances constitutes a Class C misdemeanor for a first time offense and a Class A misdemeanor for subsequent offenses.

Related Crimes

Like in many drug-related crimes, much of the harm from inhalant use comes not only from the inhalant use itself but from activities people engage in following inhalant use.  There have been documented cases of people dying or becoming chronically injured from inhalant use in Illinois and around the country. For example, inhalant users may choose to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by an inhalant, and they may be charged with driving under influence, an aggravated DUI or even reckless homicide if an injury results.

Drug cases are not always straightforward. If you have been charged in a huffing or similar drug use or drug sale matter, it is advisable to discuss your defense strategy with an experienced Illinois defense attorney as soon as possible. At Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C. we have experience in defending our clients against a wide variety of misdemeanor and felony drug charges in northern Illinois courts. Contact us at 630-472-9700 or through our online form to learn more about the help we can offer our prospective clients.

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