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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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DuPage County criminal drug charge attorney, drug trafficking, drug posession

Drug trafficking and drug possession are serious crimes that carry potentially devastating sentences. However, there are notable differences between both crimes as well as the defenses available to refute them. You will want to speak with an experienced DuPage County criminal drug charge attorney to get the best advice on what your options are after you have been charged.

Drug Possession

Drug possession, generally, is a less serious offense than drug trafficking. Drug Possession refers to being in actual or constructive possession of a controlled substance. Being charged with drug possession usually is prosecuted at the state level.

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drug possession, DuPage County drug possession defense attorneyHaving a charge on your criminal record for any crime can be life-altering. However, drug-related crimes have exceptionally stronger impacts than lesser crimes. Not only is there the legal punishment that comes from conviction, but there are also secondary consequences to consider. For instance, you may lose your government funding for higher education in addition to losing your employment and livelihood. Consider contacting an attorney to reduce or avoid penalties.

Drug Schedules

Although it may sound like what time of day to take your doctor-prescribed medications, drug schedules in the legal sense are a factor used in determining penalties issued for drug crimes. Schedules were created to categorize the potency of the drug, the proclivity for addiction and abuse, and whether or not the substance has any medical usages. The current schedule is set as follows, starting with the least severe:

  • Schedule V: Drugs in this category—Robitussin-AC, codeine, etc.—have a small likelihood of addiction, are used for medical purposes, and contain limited quantities of narcotics.
  • Schedule IV: These substances have a low potential for addiction and are prescribed for medical purposes. Examples include Xanax and Valium.
  • Schedule III: These drugs also have a low potential for abuse but alternately a moderate risk for physical or psychological dependence. These drugs include Vicodin and Tylenol with codeine.
  • Schedule II: This category has legitimate medical uses but is found to have a high level of abuse and is extremely likely to create a dependence. Prescriptions include OxyContin and Percocet.
  • Schedule I: This is the most severe and does not have any accepted medical usages. These are opiates or are derived from opiates and are highly likely to be abused. Heroin, LSD, and ecstasy all fall into this category.

Other Influential Factors

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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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