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DuPage County criminal defense attorney marijuana possession

January 1, 2020, was a landmark day in Illinois since it marked the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in the state. Currently, marijuana is treated much like alcohol, in that adults over the age of 21 are allowed to possess and use certain amounts of the drug, but they are prohibited from driving while intoxicated. However, even though marijuana has been legalized, people should still be aware that violations of the state’s laws could lead to charges of drug possession or other criminal offenses.

Potential Marijuana-Related Charges in Illinois

Currently, Illinois residents over the age of 21 are allowed to possess up to 30 grams of raw cannabis, up to 5 grams of cannabis concentrates, or cannabis-infused products with up to 500 milligrams of THC. Non-Illinois residents can possess half of these amounts. Authorized medical marijuana users may possess up to 2.5 ounces of raw cannabis or products containing cannabis during a 14-day period. Cannabis and products containing cannabis must be purchased from a licensed dispensary. When transported in a vehicle, marijuana must be kept in a sealed container.

Possession or use of marijuana that falls outside of these legally allowed uses may lead to criminal charges, including:

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DuPage County drug crimes defense attorney

Since the 1970s, the federal government has been running what has been dubbed the “War on Drugs.” This movement began decades ago but is still evolving today. Around the time the War on Drugs was declared, the federal Controlled Substances Act was signed into law, creating “schedules” of different drugs based on their purported medical use and potential for abuse. States followed by creating their own criminal laws concerning controlled substances, with many of these laws criminalizing possession as well as the sale of certain drugs. Depending on the circumstances, these offenses can be charged as felonies. However, in some situations, probation may be an option. 

What Constitutes a Felony Charge?

In Illinois, it is not uncommon for a drug possession charge to be classified as a felony. Marijuana is still federally illegal, but recreational cannabis is now legal to purchase, possess, and use in Illinois. Other controlled substances, however, are not legal, possession of these substances can result in criminal charges. You could be charged with felony possession of a controlled substance for:

  • 15 grams or more of LSD, heroin, cocaine, or morphine

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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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