What Is the Average Jail Time for Drug Possession?

What Is the Average Jail Time for Drug Possession?

What is the average jail time for drug possession? You might be contemplating this very question if you have recently been arrested for this charge. The answer depends on a multitude of factors.

What Is the Average Sentence for Drug Possession in Illinois?

Under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (ICSA), possession of all drugs (besides marijuana) in Illinois is generally a felony. The amount of jail time you receive depends on the type and quantity of the drug you had in your possession, and often on the lawyer you hire to fight the charges.

Heroin, Cocaine, and Morphine

Getting caught with these drugs, which is a Class I felony, results in the harshest penalties. If you are found with 15 grams or more of any of these substances, you are looking at significant punishment and a felony on your record.

Penalties include:

  • 15-99 grams = 4-15 years in prison
  • 100-399 grams = 6-30 years in prison
  • 400-899 grams = 8-40 years in prison
  • 900+ grams = 10-50 years in prison

You are also subject to a fine of up to $200,000.

Peyote, Barbituric Acid/Salts, Amphetamine, LSD

Possession of these drugs is viewed as serious. However, the weight thresholds for a Class I felony are higher than for the three drugs listed above. You need to have at least 200 grams of these drugs to be charged with a Class I felony and to face 4-15 years in prison. You may also be fined up to $25,000.

Pentazocine, Methaqualone, Phencyclidine, and Ketamine

If you are caught in possession of 30 grams or more of these drugs, you will be looking at a Class I felony punishable by 4-15 years of incarceration plus a $25,000 fine.

Other Drugs

The ICSA lists many other drugs besides the ones just mentioned. Possession of any of them in any amount is considered to be a Class 4 felony punishable by 1-3 years in prison and a fine of $25,000.

Drug Possession Classifications

The ICSA categorizes drugs into schedules, of which there are four. As you will notice, marijuana is not scheduled, because in Illinois marijuana is dealt with separately from other “drugs.”

Schedule I

Drugs under this scheduling scheme are considered to have (1) a high potential for abuse and (2) no recognized or accepted medical use.

Schedule I drugs in Illinois include:

  • Salvia
  • MDMA (methylenedioxyamphetamine)
  • Psilocybin
  • Peyote
  • LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide)
  • PCP (phencyclidine)
  • Heroin

Schedule I drugs are totally prohibited in Illinois, meaning there exists no legal way to procure them, under any circumstances.

Schedule II

Drugs found in this category also have a high potential for abuse. However, they also have accepted medical uses in the U.S. They include:

  • Methadone
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl
  • Opium
  • Tapentadol
  • Codeine
  • Oxycodone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine

Because of their recognized medical use, these drugs can be obtained legally, most often only by medical professionals and patients.

Schedule III

These drugs are considered less addictive than Schedule I and II drugs, although their potential for abuse is recognized. They also have recognized medical uses. Some of these drugs are:

  • Ketamine
  • Phendimetrazine
  • Suboxone (buprenorphine)
  • Didrex (benzphetamine)
  • Depo-Testosterone (anabolic steroids)

You can possess these with a valid prescription if you are a patient or a medical professional.

Schedule IV

Schedule IV drugs have an even lower potential for abuse than those in the preceding schedules and are used widely for medical purposes. They include:

  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Halcion (triazolam)
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Soma (carisoprodol)
  • Versed (midazolam)

These are some of the commonly used prescription drugs today.

Schedule V

The potential for abuse is low with substances in this category, which are not strictly singular drugs. Instead, they are concoctions, often prepared by pharmacists, that contain small amounts of some of the drugs detailed above.

Frequently Asked Questions About Jail Time for Drug Possession

After knowing the answer to the question “What is the average sentence for drug possession?” you may have more questions. Illinois drug possession laws are complex and create lots of confusion. Below are some of the common inquiries people have regarding possession charges.

  • What is the average sentence for possession of drug paraphernalia?
    Possession of paraphernalia is a separate charge you might face if charged with possession of drugs. What is the average sentence for possession of drug paraphernalia? The Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Act states that possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum jail time of one year.
  • Will I have to serve my entire sentence?
    You may not have to serve your entire sentence because of certain statutory provisions related to sentence reduction. These are regulations that dictate how much time you will actually serve and are statute-based calculations.
  • What is the consequence of drug possession with the intent to deliver?
    Possession with intent to deliver is usually charged as a Class X felony, which is the most severe criminal designation besides murder. Penalties are serious and extreme, with mandatory minimums in play. This means every person convicted will do time. Probation is not an option.
  • What defenses are there for drug possession charges?

    An arrest does not mean a conviction. There are many defensive tactics your drug possession attorney will use to fight the case. They may include challenging the validity of the search that found the drugs or contesting your actual possession of the drugs.

    Your questions are valid and expected. If you haven’t found the answer you’re looking for, give us a call with any question you might have.

  • What is the average sentence for drug possession in Illinois for juveniles?
    Juveniles do not face jail or prison time for drug possession charges. Instead, the court mandates rehabilitation and other non-criminal justice options.
  • What is the average jail time for drug possession if I have priors?
    If you have prior drug-related convictions, your sentence will likely be harsher than a first-time offender’s.

If you have further questions, reach out to our team. We can help you understand the average jail time for drug possession.

Why Choose Us for Your Drug Possession Case?

At Wolfe & Stec, we vigorously represent our clients at all stages of the criminal process. From the moment you employ our firm, we fight to get you free of the criminal justice system so you can get your life back in order.

With every step and at every hearing, you can expect our seasoned drug possession lawyer to provide you with the formidable representation your case deserves.

If you or a loved one is facing a drug possession charge and wondering, “What is the average sentence for drug possession?” give Wolf & Stec a call today at 630-305-0222. An experienced drug possession lawyer will give you a free consultation to determine the appropriate way forward with your case.

Attorney Marc Wolfe

Marc Wolfe has been representing clients in criminal matters in Chicago and the entire State of Illinois for over 30 years. Mr. Wolfe has tried over 300 cases to verdict and represents clients facing investigation or prosecution for a broad range of state and federal criminal offenses, including murder, embezzlement, sexual abuse, drugs, marijuana and white collar crimes. [ Attorney Bio ]