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Drug Possession in Illinois

Web Admin - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

drug possession, Illinois drug crimes lawyerThe punishment for illegal possession of controlled substances in Illinois includes significant jail or prison sentences and large fines. Controlled substances include drugs like cocaine and heroin, but also includes certain prescription medications. Further, in Illinois, the possession of marijuana for non-medical purposes is illegal. The penalties for marijuana possession are often equally as significant as those for illegal possession of a controlled substance. 

Possession and Distribution 

Drugs listed as controlled substances are placed on a schedule from one to five (listed as a roman numeral “I” through “V”) based on their addictive quality and potential for abuse. Schedule I controlled substances are considered the most dangerous and have no accepted medical use in the United States. Some examples of schedule I drugs are heroin and ecstasy. 

Under Illinois law, it is illegal to knowingly possess a controlled substance or marijuana. The specific charge an individual will face for alleged violation of this law depends on the type of drug and the amount possessed. The charge may be a Class A, B, or C misdemeanor, or a Class 1, 2, 3, or 4 felony. 

For controlled substances, the penalties range from probation, up to a 50-year prison sentence, with fines up to $200,000 or the street value of the drug, whichever is greater. Possessing 15 grams or less of a drug like heroin or cocaine can lead to up to a three-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $25,000. For marijuana, penalties range from probation up to a prison sentence of 15 years. Possessing 2.5 grams or less of marijuana can lead to a jail sentence of up to 30 days and a fine of up to $1,500. 

Distribution is considered more serious under Illinois law, particularly if a Class X felony is charged. These types of felonies are behind only first degree murder as the most serious in Illinois. There are mandatory minimum prison sentences and no possibility for probation under Class X felonies. Manufacturing or delivering, or possessing with the intent to manufacture or deliver, a controlled substance may be considered a Class X felony, depending on the drug and quantity involved. For example, delivering between 15 and 100 grams of heroin will lead to a minimum prison sentence of six years, with a maximum sentence of up to 30 years. 

Similarly, there are increased penalties for manufacturing or delivering marijuana. When 2.5 grams or less is involved, the jail sentence may be up to six months, as opposed to up to 30 days for simple possession. If more than 5,000 grams of any substance containing marijuana is involved, a Class X felony may be charged, with a potential fine of up to $200,000. 

Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm

The potential consequences of a drug charge conviction are very serious. If you have been charged with a drug crime, it is important that you contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. Our dedicated attorneys represent clients throughout the northwest suburbs, in areas such as Barrington, Des Plaines, and Deer Park.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.

The Status of Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Web Admin - Thursday, January 15, 2015

medical marijuana in Illinois, Arlington Heights drug defense lawyerOne of the most controversial issues currently facing politics is the legalization of marijuana. Some states have gone so far as to completely legalize it, allowing recreational use of the drug. Other states, along with the federal government, have left it totally illegal. Illinois has chosen the middle ground of allowing the use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions. Illinois' medical marijuana law was signed in 2013, and it creates a framework for how to regulate the use of marijuana. However, there have recently been delays in the implementation of that framework, meaning that even though medical marijuana is technically legal, it is still inaccessible to Illinois residents.

General Rules

The Illinois medical marijuana law sets up both a legal framework for patients who possess marijuana, as well as for growers and distributors. Patients may apply for a medical marijuana card if they have one of almost 40 qualifying illnesses, including Parkinson's, cancer, and glaucoma. In order to get a medical marijuana card, people must also be residents of Illinois who are over the age of 18 and who do not have a criminal record.

As far as a growth and distribution framework, the law allows for 22 businesses to receive licenses to actually grow marijuana. One of these businesses will be located in each state police district. The law also authorizes a set of 60 licenses for distributors who will purchase the marijuana from the growers and sell it throughout the state. Additionally, the law creates a new 16 member board for the addition of new qualifying illnesses to the list of diseases that would allow someone to receive medical marijuana.

Recent Delays

Despite the fact that the law went into effect at the beginning of 2014, it has been plagued with implementation delays. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, state agencies spent almost a full year just developing the regulations to manage this program. So far, only 650 patients have been given their medical marijuana cards, and the numbers on the business side are even less encouraging.

Many people were hoping that Governor Quinn would award the licenses for the growers and distributors before he left office. However, that did not happen. That means that it will be up to Governor Rauner to make the decision about future licensing. Governor Quinn did make some appointments to the board that will decide about adding new illnesses before he left office, but he also left some spaces open for Governor Rauner to make more appointments.

Illinois's medical marijuana law creates a complex legal framework, and running afoul if it can result in criminal drug charges. If you have recently been charged with a drug crime, contact an Illinois criminal defense attorney. Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC represents the accused in towns across the northwest suburbs, including in Rolling Meadows, Schaumburg, and Arlington Heights.

About the Author: Founding partner of Drost, Gilbert, Andrew & Apicella, LLC, Colin Gilbert, received his J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of law in 2005. Colin argues cases across many practice areas including criminal defense, collections, civil litigation, real estate law, and corporate law. Colin is an active member of the Board of Governors of the Northwest Suburban Bar Association and the Illinois Creditors Bar Association. He is currently Vice President of the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, and is a Commissioner for the Village of Arlington Heights. Colin has a 10.0 Attorney rating on Avvo, and was named one of the 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyers in Illinois by the National Trial Lawyers Association.


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