The number one reaction to the use, sale, or manufacture of drugs in the state of Illinois is to impose criminal penalties. The war on drugs is in full effect in Chicago, and the police and state prosecutors are using all the tools at their disposal to punish individuals who use, sell, or manufacture controlled substances in the state. If you or someone you know has been charged with a drug-related crime in Illinois, contact an experienced Chicago drug crimes attorney immediately.
If convicted of a drug crime in Illinois your life may be forever changed, as convictions could surface each time a potential employer or landlord runs a background check. Your rights to enjoy certain privileges, if convicted, may be severely limited. Enlisting the assistance of an experience Chicago drug crime attorney could be the difference between dropped charges and time in jail. The skilled attorneys at Kostopoulos Law Group, LLC, have a history of both successfully defending clients against baseless drug crime charges and negotiating reduced sentences. Contact us today to learn about how we may be able to help you fight your drug crime charges.
Drug Crime Laws
Illinois, in response to the Federal war on drugs, passed sweeping legislation targeting various aspects of drug use, possession, distribution, and manufacture. The texts of drug crime laws generally refer to controlled substances, rather than drugs, which helps to narrow the scope of when the law will be applicable.
For example, Illinois drug crime laws will only apply to controlled substances, not drugs such as nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol. To best understand when a drug crime law may apply, it is important to know what a controlled substance is in the eyes of the law. Controlled substances are drugs, substances, immediate precursors, or synthetics of those listed in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. Examples of common controlled substances include:
- Meth; and
- Anabolic Steroids;
Controlled substances also include prescription drugs for which you do not have a legal prescription, such as Oxycontin, Morphine, Vicodin, Klonopin, Valium, Methadone, Adderall, Ritalin, and barbiturates.
Controlled substances explicitly exclude liquor, wine, malt beverages, and tobacco.
Under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, it is illegal to knowingly possess a controlled substance or controlled substance analog. Possession can be actual or constructive. Actual possession requires the substance to be found on your body, perhaps in your pockets, up your sleeve, in a shoe, or in your hand. Constructive possession requires the substance to be in a location you have knowledge of and the ability to access and control. Common examples of constructive possession include drugs stashed in cars or homes of individuals who are under suspicion of possession. If you are pulled over by police, you will be found to have constructive possession of any drugs they find stored in the glove compartment, visor, or console.
Penalties for the possession of a controlled substance vary depending on:
- The type of controlled substance; and
- The amount of the controlled substance in your possession.
For example, the penalties for possession of the same amount of marijuana and cocaine are drastically different. The penalty for possession of 10-30 grams of marijuana is (for a first offense) up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500, while the penalty for possession of the same amount of cocaine is 4-15 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. For a comprehensive list of penalties for Illinois drug possession crimes, click here.
Prohibitions on possession also extend to paraphernalia. Under the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act [720 ILCS 600], it is illegal to possess drug paraphernalia, which includes bongs, carburetion tubes and devices, water pipes, electric pipes, cocaine spoons and vials, and needles or syringes. Paraphernalia associated with drug use, manufacture, or distribution – such as baggies or scales – may also be punishable under the Act.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class A Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
Delivery and Manufacture of Controlled Substances
In some cases, the amount of a controlled substance found in your possession may elevate the crime to Possession with the Intent to Deliver. You can be charged with this crime even if you lack the intent to sell or deliver the drugs to another person. Illinois may pursue elevated charges if the amount of drugs in your possession – whether actual or constructive – would be greater than that for personal use.
Possession with intent to deliver can be a misdemeanor of a felony offense, depending on the type and amount of the controlled substance in your possession. Penalties may range from 6 months and fines of $1,500 to 15 years in prison and fines of $250,000. For a comprehensive list of penalties for Illinois drug possession with intent to deliver crimes, click here.
It is illegal to manufacture controlled substances in Illinois. Charges for manufacturing drugs can be brought if the police find evidence of:
- A drug development lab in your home or place of business;
- A collection of chemicals and substances typically used to create a drug; or
- Cultivating and growing plants used as or used in the creation of a drug.
Manufacturing charges, however, are dependent upon the state proving that you had both the possession of the elements necessary to create the controlled substance and the intent to create a controlled substance. If you happen to have an interesting collection of chemicals, but lack the intent to combine them to create a drug the state will likely be unsuccessful in pursuing manufacturing charges against you.
Manufacturing controlled substances is a crime that the state of Illinois takes very seriously. The crime is a Class X Felony, which is punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. The severity of the penalty will, however, depend on the type and amount of controlled substance relevant to your specific case. For a comprehensive list of penalties for Illinois drug manufacturing crimes, click here.
Distribution and Trafficking of Controlled Substances in Illinois
The actual or attempted distribution of a controlled substance is illegal in Illinois. Distribution is, for the purposes of the statute, broadly defined, and includes any delivery – other than by administering or dispensing – a controlled substance. This may include selling, exchanging, or providing drugs to another person. The distribution can successful – where you the other party takes the drugs into their possession, or the distribution can be solicited but not complete. The intent to distribute a controlled substance – if proven – is enough to satisfy the charges.
Distribution is a Class X Felony, which is punishable by 6 to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. The severity of the penalty will hinge on the specific drug and amount of the sale or attempted sale.
Trafficking is perhaps the most serious Illinois drug crime, because it involves the transport of drugs into the state for sale and use. It is illegal to knowingly bring (or cause to be brought) controlled substances into the state of Illinois for manufacture or distribution. Regardless of whether you bring the drugs in yourself or arrange to have them brought in, trafficking is a serious offense.
Trafficking is punishable by the penalty assigned for the distribution or manufacture of the specific drug in question. It is a Class 2 Felony to use a cellular radio telecommunication device (cell phone or other similar mode of communication) to assist the trafficking of a controlled substance.
Defenses to Drug Crime Charges
Law enforcement and state prosecutors have ramped up the intensity and sheer volume of drug related charges in recent years. The Federal war on drugs has driven many states, including Illinois, to crack down on drug-related crimes in an effort to reduce drug use, sale, and manufacture. While criminalizing drug use may not be the way to reduce the prevalence of drugs in Chicago, it is certainly the tactic the state of Illinois has chosen. If you have been charged with a drug crime in Chicago you should contact an experienced drug crime attorney immediately to learn about your legal rights. Defenses to drug crimes in Illinois include:
- Lack of intent or knowledge;
- Lack of possession;
- Improper search and seizure; or
- Infringement of other Constitutional rights.
If you have been charged with a drug crime in Chicago, but believe you are not guilty, the prosecution lacks evidence, or that evidence was obtained illegally, contact a skilled drug crime attorney immediately. An attorney understands the complexities of the law and the procedures that must be respected to collect and gather evidence. Illegally or improperly collected evidence can render charges against you useless. A skilled attorney can investigate the details of your charges and determine if your Constitutional rights have been violated.
Contact a Chicago Drug Crimes Attorney Today
If you or someone you love has been charged with a drug crime your first call should be to an experienced Chicago drug crime attorney. At Kostopoulos Law Group, LLC, our attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of clients facing serious drug charges. If you believe you have been falsely accused of a drug crime, we will fight tirelessly to uncover the truth so that your name and future are not tarnished by a faulty criminal record. When you call us, we will review the details of your situation, explain your legal rights, and develop a legal strategy to fight the drug crime charges against you.