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Category Archives: Drug Charges

IL defense lawyerWhile getting caught with drug paraphernalia is typically considered less serious than a drug possession charge, that is not always the case. It is illegal to possess drug paraphernalia in Illinois, and penalties can be severe and costly, regardless of whether it was discovered along with narcotics.

What Is Drug Paraphernalia?

Illinois’ Drug Paraphernalia Control Act defines drug paraphernalia as equipment or materials (other than those used to produce methamphetamine, which is covered in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act) intended to plant, grow, harvest, test, store, conceal, or consume a controlled substance. Related devices used to smoke marijuana, cocaine, hash products, synthetic drugs, or other substances include various forms of pipes and bongs. Also included are drug manufacturing kits, testing equipment, and cutting agents.

Drug Paraphernalia Charges

Anyone caught with drug paraphernalia with the intent to consume a controlled substance can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, with a fine between $750 to $2,500 and up to a year in jail. That is a more serious charge than getting caught with less than 10 grams of cannabis, which as a Class B misdemeanor, carries up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,500.

Selling drug paraphernalia is more serious than possession under Illinois law. An individual who sells or delivers it may be charged with a Class 4 felony, with a minimum fine of $1,000 and up to a year in prison. If the seller is over 18 years old and the recipient is a minor, that constitutes a Class 3 felony, punishable up to five years in prison and $25,000 in fines. A knowing sale to a pregnant woman is a Class 2 felony, punishable up to seven years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

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IL drug attorneyMany people throughout the United States use marijuana for medical purposes, recreational consumption, or both. However, even though marijuana has been legalized for medicinal or recreational use in several states, it is still considered a controlled substance in Illinois.

As marijuana laws continue to change, you might be wondering about the current laws and the penalties that could result if you are caught possessing it. Can you be arrested for possessing marijuana in Illinois? If a doctor prescribed medical marijuana for you, can you still get in legal trouble? Should you get an attorney if you are arrested on marijuana charges?

Marijuana Possession

Under Illinois law, it is illegal to possess marijuana unless it is prescribed by a licensed physician. For marijuana use not prescribed by a physician, penalties vary based on the amount possessed:

  • Ten grams or fewer – a civil law violation punishable by a $100 - $200 fine. This is a change from previous laws that made possession of fewer than 10 grams of marijuana a criminal offense.
  • More than 10 grams, but fewer than 30 grams – a Class B misdemeanor with up to six months in jail.
  • More than 30 grams, but fewer than 100 grams – a Class A misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and a maximum $2,500 fine. If this offense follows a previous marijuana offense, this becomes a Class 4 felony with one to three years in jail.
  • More than 100 grams, but fewer than 500 grams – a Class 4 felony with one to three years in jail and a maximum $25,000 fine. If this offense follows a previous marijuana offense, this becomes a Class 3 felony, with two to five years in jail.
  • More than 500 grams, but fewer than 2,000 grams – a Class 3 felony with two to five years in jail and a maximum $25,000 fine.
  • More than 2,000 grams, but fewer than 5,000 grams – a Class 2 felony with three to seven years in jail and a maximum $25,000 fine.
  • More than 5,000 grams – a Class 1 felony with four to 15 years in jail and a maximum $25,000 fine.

Additionally, you may face penalties such as probation for 24 months, community service, drug testing, medical or psychiatric treatment for drug addiction, and more.

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IL defense lawyerCocaine is considered one of the most addictive of all controlled substances; second only to heroin. The drug has medical usefulness, such as during anesthesia, but on the streets, it is highly illegal. Cocaine not only has severe and lasting physical effects on the body but can also result in lasting legal repercussions. Illinois state laws and lawmakers have stiff penalties in place to deter residents from becoming involved. Here is what to expect should you face cocaine possession accusations in Illinois.

Potential Penalties

Being found in possession of a controlled substance is a felony. Controlled substances in Illinois include heroin, cocaine, morphine, amphetamines, and anabolic steroids, to name a few. The potential penalties vary between drugs as well as the amount of the material thought to be in the suspect’s possession. Possession of cocaine is a Class 1 felony, which is punishable by a minimum fine of $200,000 as well as time in prison. The length of the prison sentence increase with the amount of cocaine found at the scene. Currently, the sentences are:

  • 15g-99g: Between 4-15 years in prison;
  • 100g-399g: Between 6-30 years of imprisonment;
  • 400g-899g: Between 8-40 years of imprisonment; and
  • 900g or Higher: Between 10-50 years of imprisonment.

The Burden of Proof

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Illinois drug defense lawyersIn 2011, the State Attorney for LaSalle County created the State’s Attorney Felony Enforcement Unit (SAFE). In the roughly four years that it operated, the unit managed to confiscate over $1.7 million from Illinois drivers. They also filed more than 50 civil forfeiture cases and arrested 77 people on drug charges. The Illinois Supreme Court recently ruled that all acts – including those tied to criminal cases – were wrongful. The reason? The task force should never have existed. Learn more about what this could mean for your drug conviction case, and how an experienced criminal defense lawyer may be able to help.

Abuse of Power Rampant in SAFE Squad

Law enforcement is supposed to be a government entity, meaning it should operate and act within the law. Unfortunately, the SAFE Unit failed to do this. Not only did the Illinois Supreme Court rule that they had wrongfully searched the vehicles of Illinois drivers, but they also operated in a for-profit way. Funds from seizures were used to purchase everything from conferences in Las Vegas to office furniture, patrol cars, and even employee salaries.

What the Ruling Could Mean for Your Case

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Wheaton criminal defense attorneyA little more than half of U.S employers drug test potential employees before offering a job. An analysis of over 10 million workplaces found that the number of positive results is the highest it has been in 12 years. Marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine use is on the rise nationwide. According to the analysis carried out by Quest Diagnostics, 4.2 percent of drug tests produced positive results in 2016. That number is up 4 percent from 2015, making it the highest rate since 2004.

Marijuana Leads in Drug Use

Although the Illinois rate of positive drug tests was the same as the national average, drug use varies between different regions. For example, Chicago’s suburban residents tested positive for cocaine more than other drugs. Southern Illinois residents tested positive for opiates more often than other areas, and heroin use was most common near Rockford.

Overall, drug use appears to be on the rise but it is still not as high as it was 30 years ago. When Quest Diagnostics began their annual report on positive drug tests in 1988, almost 14 percent of drug tests came back positive. Increased marijuana use is largely responsible for the higher rate of positive results and accounted for about half of all positive results.

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