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Category Archives: Drug Charges

DuPage County criminal defense lawyerThe discussion regarding marijuana continues to evolve, and the applicable laws are constantly adjusting to meet society’s needs. Recently, Senate Bill 2228 was introduced and passed into law to alter the details surrounding charges and penalties regarding marijuana and driving under the influence, or DUI. Although the new law is not perfect, it seems to be a step in the right direction.

Legal Limits

For the safety of you, your passengers, and others on the roadway, it is illegal to drive while impaired, regardless of the substance used. Previously, Illinois was a “zero tolerance” state according to the Cannabis Control Act and Vehicle Codes, meaning if any amount of marijuana was found in the system of a driver upon testing, that would be enough for a potential conviction. As of July 29th, 2016, there is a new legal limit of:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration in the person's whole blood or other bodily substance of five nanograms or more of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of whole blood; or
  • Ten nanograms or more of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of other bodily substance.

While this does provide some leniency compared to a zero-tolerance policy, as with alcohol impairment, various substances affect individuals differently depending on a variety of factors. Therefore, even if you have not reached these legal limits, if you are still considered to be impaired, you may be arrested based on the judgment of the attending officer.

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DuPage County criminal defense attorney, drug possession chargesDuring a traffic stop, you cooperate with the officers who pulled you over. You answer every question asked to the best of your knowledge and even allow the officers to check your vehicle—you know that nothing is there. Yet, the officers find something in your car that shocks you, because you have never touched anything like it. You know others who do, however, and somehow the remanence was discovered in your vehicle. Now, the officers are pointing all fingers at the driver, which in this case, is you. You currently face drug possession charges and are at a loss for words because the police did not believe you. Therefore, why would a judge?

Illinois Possession Laws

Notorious for strict punishments in general, Illinois drug possession consequences are no different. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to understand each law in its entirety. The majority of laws pertaining to possession in Illinois (Cannibis Control Act, Illinois Controlled Substance Act, and even weapons laws), all have one factor in common: the person charged must “knowingly possess” the item.

The word “knowingly” became a source of great debate and contention in the court system and led to the Criminal Offenses Act in 2010 when Illinois outlined their legal definition of knowledge.

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Wheaton criminal defense attorney, Illinois drug lawsThe state of drug crimes is in flux throughout much of the United States. Yet while many states are moving away from harsh penalties for individual drug users, criminal penalties for the sale and manufacture of controlled substances continue to be among the harshest penalties in the criminal justice system. Any drug charge is a serious issue. However, a conviction for distribution can put you in prison for thirty years or more in some instances.

The Difference Between Possession, Distribution, and Manufacture Crimes

There are four major types of drug crimes under Illinois law:

  • Possession of a controlled substance;
  • Possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance;
  • Delivery of a controlled substance; and
  • Manufacture of a controlled substance.

Possession simply means that you have a controlled substance under your personal control—in your car, in your home, or in your pocket. The amount must be consistent with personal use. If the amount is more than is reasonable for personal use you may be charged with intent to deliver a controlled substance. You can even be charged with intent to deliver for personal amounts of drugs that are wrapped and ready for sale.

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