Drug Charges FAQs
What kind of penalties can I face for a drug charge?
In Illinois, drug charges could mean you are facing a misdemeanor or a felony. If arrested for misdemeanor drug charges, it could mean fines, up to one-year time in jail, probation and community service. If you are convicted for a felony, it could lead to many years of imprisonment in addition to other repercussions.
Whether it involves drug possession or distribution, drug charges are always serious. Besides facing criminal charges, an arrest and conviction for drugs could result in a large number of personal consequences as well. This could include negative publicity, the inability to seek certain kinds of employment and having the arrest become a part of your permanent record.
Because the consequences are so harsh, it is always recommended that you speak to an experienced attorney if facing charges or even possible arrest.
What are the penalties for marijuana possession or distribution?
It is a mistake to assume that charges related to marijuana possession or distribution are relatively minor. There really is no such thing as a minor drug charge of any kind. In Illinois, possession of marijuana can lead to class A, class B or class C misdemeanor.
- Class A misdemeanor: Concerns possession of 10 to 30 grams of marijuana. This could result in up to 12 months of jail time and fines of up to $2,500.
- Class B misdemeanor: Possession of between 2.5 and 10 grams of marijuana. This may lead to up to six months in jail and fines of up to $1,500.
- Class C misdemeanor: Possession of less than 2.5 grams. This could result in a jail sentence of 30 days, and a fine of up to $1,500.
Possession with the intent to distribute or possession of over 30 grams of marijuana can lead to felony charges. A felony conviction could lead to a prison sentence anywhere between one and 15 years. It could also lead to fines of up to $25,000.
Can I face felony charges for drug possession?
Depending upon the type of drug in your possession and the amount of the drug, it is possible to face felony charges even when there was no intent to distribute the substance. Illegal possession of heroin, cocaine and morphine in any amount can lead to felony charges. If you have over 15 grams of any of these drugs, you could face a minimum of four years’ imprisonment for a class 1 felony. Class 1 felony charges can also go all the way up to 50-year prison sentences.
What defenses are available to me when facing drug charges?
A drug arrest does not mean you will face conviction. You have a number of rights when it comes to drug arrests. This includes protections regarding illegal searches and seizures of your car or residence, the failure of arresting officers to obtain a warrant, and a right not to be stopped unreasonably by law enforcement officers.
As in any other criminal matter, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It is therefore important that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer concerning available defenses and all of your legal options.