Drug crimes are treated seriously in Illinois, and understanding precisely what’s at stake may be difficult. The Illinois Controlled Substances Act is more than 100 pages long, and includes very detailed information about compounds and concentrations that impact the appropriate charges and associated consequences.
It’s our job to understand those details and how they may offer a defense to the charges against you so that you don’t have to sort through the chemistry, measurements and other complex details.
The range of penalties for possession of marijuana in Illinois is significant. Possession of 2.5 grams or less is a Class C misdemeanor, carrying a potential penalty of less than 30 days in jail and a fine of no more than $1,500. Often, a violation at this level carries no jail time at all.
However, both the classification of the crime and the penalties become more serious as the quantity increases. At the high end, possession of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana is charged as a Class 1 felony, punishable by 4-15 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. If extended sentencing applies, the term of imprisonment may be even longer.
Illinois criminalizes the possession of not only “street drugs,” but also possession of many prescription drugs when they are not obtained and possessed pursuant to a valid prescription. Thus, a person may face criminal conviction, fines, imprisonment and other consequences not just for drugs like heroin, cocaine and LSD, but also for unauthorized possession of many tranquilizers, pain killers, steroids and other drugs routinely used for the treatment of medical conditions in Illinois.
The seriousness of drug possession charges depends in part on the quantity possessed. However, the classification of the crime and the potential sentence also depends in part upon the classification of the drug. Possession of just 15 grams of heroin, cocaine, morphine, or LSD can mean 4-5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
With regard to many prohibited drugs or drugs which may be legally possessed only with a prescription, the specifics of the compound and the percentage of certain substances will determine the classification of the drug and the potential sentence.
Possession and sale of look-alike substances—substances that appear to be and are represented as controlled substances though they are not in fact controlled substances—are crimes in Illinois. Possession of a look-alike drug is a Class C misdemeanor, the least serious criminal classification available in Illinois. A Class C misdemeanor results in no more than 30 days in jail.
However, the delivery of a look-alike drug can carry very serious consequences: in some cases, sale of a look-alike substance represented as a controlled substance is a Class 1 felony. That means a possibility of 4-15 years in prison, assuming no enhancements apply. Punishments are more severe under certain circumstances, such as when the recipient is a minor.
Manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to manufacture or deliver controlled substances is a very serious crime in Illinois. Violating this prohibition with regard to many drugs, including heroin, cocaine, LSD, fentanyl and morphine, is a Class X felony.
For substances containing heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, morphine, or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), the potential penalties for manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to deliver or manufacture are as follows:
|15 – < 100 grams||6-30 years||Up to $25,000|
|100 – < 400 grams||9-40 years||Up to $25,000|
|400 – < 900 grams||12-50 years||Up to $25,000|
|900 grams or more||15-60 years||Up to $25,000|
For some drugs, the sentencing ranges are also triggered by individual items, such as pills. For example, 15-199 units of LSD is subject to the same sentencing range as 15 – <100 grams.
Drug crimes carry serious penalties in terms of both fines and incarceration, but the risks don’t stop there. A drug conviction may have other serious consequences, including seizure of property, limitations on or loss of professional licenses and restrictions on travel.
If you’re facing drug charges, don’t try to fight the battle alone. Experienced criminal defense lawyers like the ones at Callahan and Hockemeyer can help you untangle the complicated drug laws, understand exactly what’s at risk and identify the best defenses given your specific circumstances.
Act now, before your case moves one step further. Contact the experienced attorneys at Callahan & Hockemeyer, P.C. for help with drug crimes in Illinois.