If you have been charged with a drug crime in Illinois, you face major penalties that can change your life forever. If you are convicted, in addition to facing jail time and fines, you will have a criminal record that can affect your employment and educational opportunities, limit your ability to get decent housing, ruin your relationships, and rob you of self-esteem.
Drug charges are difficult to fight and even fully comprehend without help from a drug charge lawyer due to the multitude of criminal statutes related to the possession and/or distribution of drugs. In addition to Illinois statutes, federal law may come into play, and sometimes federal and state laws are contradictory. For example, while Illinois has legalized medical marijuana, it is still technically illegal under federal law.
Federal drug laws apply to all U.S. citizens regardless of their state of residency and are prosecuted by either the Department of Justice or the U.S. Attorney’s Office in federal district court. Illinois state drug laws apply to all drug-related crimes that occur in Illinois and are prosecuted by the State’s Attorney’s Office for the county that the crime was committed in; they are tried before Circuit Court judges.
Due to the seriousness and complexity of the laws, it is essential to get top-notch legal assistance when charged with any drug crimes. The experienced Illinois criminal drug defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances and requirements. Whether you have been accused of drug possession, trafficking, or sale, our drug charge defense lawyers will work with you to mount the most effective defense possible.
We offer a free consultation, so if you have been accused of any criminal drug charges, call us today.
Drug arrests are serious. Prosecutors and juries have little sympathy for drug users and sellers, and law enforcement is tough on drug cases. It is difficult to fight the system without an experienced and aggressive defense attorney. At Wolfe & Stec, we believe that every accused person is innocent until proven guilty. We have years of experience fighting drug charges and are well versed in the laws, the courts, the prosecutors, and how the system operates. We are fully prepared to do everything possible to have your drug charges reduced or dismissed and fight for your rights and your freedom.
When you have our DuPage County drug defense lawyers on your side, we will:
We know your future is on the line. Whether you choose to plea bargain or go to trial, our drug charges defense attorneys will negotiate and argue aggressively on your behalf to pursue the best possible outcome in your case.
At Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., our drug court lawyers can defend you if you have been accused of any Illinois drug crime. The most common categories of charges include:
Substances that are classified as “controlled,” have their use and distribution governed by law, and violators are subject to arrest and punishment. Controlled substances are often classified under “schedules” under federal and state statutes, and this classification may be different in each case.
Illinois has a Controlled Substances Act (720 ILCS 570/) that classifies drugs from Schedule I to Schedule V according to factors such as the potential for abuse and whether the drug has any medical or beneficial uses. Schedule V controlled substances are considered the least dangerous, while Schedule I drugs are considered most dangerous.
Illegal controlled substances listed in Schedules I and II include those which contain opiates, opium derivatives (such as heroin), hallucinogenic substances (such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and substances having a depressant or stimulant effect on the central nervous system.
The following is a list of the most common drugs that lead to drug arrests:
See http://www.ilga.gov/ for a complete list of drugs and their classifications in Illinois.
Marijuana is a special case, as it has been somewhat decriminalized in Illinois. There are medical marijuana laws allowing use of cannabis in the treatment of conditions that include pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Cannabis is still illegal to possess in commercial motor vehicles, school property, and jails.
Possession for personal use of 10 grams of marijuana or less is a civil violation, punishable by a fine of $100-$200 and no jail time. Penalties increase so that possession of over 10 grams and under 30 grams is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense, with possibility of 1 year in prison and a fine of $2,500. Possession of over 5,000 grams of marijuana is a Class 1 felony, punishable by imprisonment of a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 30 years, as well as a fine of $25,000.
When selling or possessing with the intent to sell is involved and amounts of the substance increase, so do penalties. For example, selling 2.5 grams or less of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months’ imprisonment and a maximum fine of $1,500. Selling, manufacturing, or possessing with the intent to sell more than 5,000 grams of marijuana is a Class X felony, punishable by a minimum sentence of 6 years and a maximum sentence of 60 years, and a maximum fine of $200,000.
Delivery to a minor or delivery on school grounds also increases penalties.
Illinois drug laws address controlled substances that include heroin, cocaine and morphine and additional controlled substances such as methamphetamine, fentanyl, LSD and even peyote. Because of the potential of harm to others, drug trafficking is punished more severely than mere possession, and the larger the amount of the drug involved, the greater the punishment.
For example, in Illinois, possession of less than 1 gram of cocaine or heroin or morphine is a Class 4 felony, with a sentence of probation or 1 to 3 years in jail. Possession of 15 grams or more of heroin, cocaine or morphine, but less than 100 grams, may carry a sentence of 4 to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $200,000. Anyone found in possession of 900 grams or more of heroin, cocaine or morphine may be sentenced to 10 to 50 years in prison and fined up to $200,000 or the full street value of the drug, whichever is greater.
When drug sale or trafficking is involved, penalties increase. A delivery of less than one gram of cocaine or heroin is a Class 2 felony, with a possible sentence of 4 to 15 years in prison, with possibility of probation. If the amount of drugs is 900 grams, imprisonment ranges from 15 to 60 years. Distribution and trafficking are vigorously prosecuted and harshly punished. Distribution is a Class X felony that incurs a maximum penalty ranging from 6 to 60 years in prison. Trafficking incurs a minimum penalty of at least two times the penalty assigned for that particular drug and amount.
Illinois law also prohibits the manufacturing, delivering or possessing with the intent to manufacture or deliver a controlled substance. Manufacturing is a Class X felony and, depending upon the substance manufactured and amount found, you face anywhere from 6 years to 60 years in prison.
Penalties include a prison sentence of 6 to 30 years, and a fine of up to $500,000, if the alleged crime involves 15 to 99 grams of heroin, cocaine or morphine. Punishments increase proportionally with amount, and if the alleged crime involves more than 900 grams of heroin, cocaine or morphine, a prison sentence will be 15 to 60 years, and a fine could be up to $500,000 or the street value of the drug.
While sentences and fines for all drug crimes are determined primarily by the weight or amount of drugs involved, there are other factors, such as delivery within 1,000 feet of a school, park, or church, or involvement of minors, that can enhance and even double penalties.
Possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor with penalties of up to 1 year in jail. If the prosecutor proves you intended to sell this paraphernalia, penalties may be increased.
A charge for possession or intent to deliver can be a misdemeanor or a felony. Depending on circumstances, such as the type and amount of controlled substance involved, you may receive a maximum penalty ranging from 180 days in jail to 60 years in prison.
If firearms are used during commission of a drug crime, penalties are increased as follows:
Penalties for controlled-substance possession, manufacturing, and delivery offenses range in seriousness from a low of a Class 3 felony (4 to 10 years in prison) to a high of a Class X felony (30 to 120 years in prison). Fines for trafficking for Class X could range from $75,000 to $1,000,000.
A complete list of Illinois drug penalties can be found in the Illinois Controlled Substance Act (720 ILCS 570/Art. IV).
Possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs is also prohibited by federal law, and there are severe penalties for drug convictions, including mandatory prison terms for many offenses. Federal drug laws and punishments also depend on amount of drugs involved, and penalties increase significantly if use of the illicit drug results in death or serious bodily injury.
Anyone convicted of illegally possessing any controlled substance faces penalties of up to 1 year in prison and a minimum fine of $1,000, or both. Second convictions include 15 days to 2 years in prison and a minimum fine of $2,500. Subsequent convictions carry heavier penalties of 90 days to 3 years in prison and a minimum fine of $5,000.
Civil penalties of up to $10,000 may also be imposed for possession of controlled substances, regardless of whether or not criminal charges are made. If convicted, you can be fined for the costs of the investigation and prosecution resulting from an arrest. Penalties for possession with intent to distribute can be greater.
If convicted of the sale, export, import, or shipping of drug paraphernalia, you can face penalties of up to 3 years in prison and a fine.
Penalties for federal drug trafficking vary based on the quantity of the controlled substances sold. Violating federal drug trafficking laws within 1,000 feet of a university may face penalties up to twice as high as the regular penalties for the offense, with a mandatory prison sentence of at least one year (21 USC §860).
Someone convicted of a federal drug offense punishable by more than one year in prison will forfeit to the United States any personal or real property related to the violation, including houses, cars, and other personal belongings.
A federal drug conviction can result in the loss of federal benefits, including grants, contracts, school loans and licenses. Federal drug trafficking convictions can result in denial of federal benefits for up to 5 years for a first conviction, 10 years for a second conviction, and permanent denial of federal benefits for a third conviction.
Our drug charge lawyers in DuPage County know how to fight to lessen penalties. Don’t delay.
When you are facing a serious drug charge, it’s natural to have major concerns. Here are some answers to questions our drug charges lawyers are often asked:
If you have been charged with any drug crime in Illinois, you need to hire the best criminal defense attorney that you can find. The experienced and seasoned Illinois drug crime defense attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. will examine the facts, the individuals involved, and the evidence available in every situation. We work with our clients throughout the criminal process to develop an effective defense strategy and determine whether to take a case to trial. Our goal is always to minimize the negative impact of the situation and to focus on protecting your freedoms, liberties, and rights.
We are aggressive litigators and will be there for you throughout the entire criminal process, answering all your questions and making sure you fully understand the facts surrounding your case. We represent clients in DuPage County and the greater Chicago area.
After the police broke into our client’s house, we successfully suppressed the evidence and the case was subsequently dismissed.
We have tried many aggravated battery and domestic batter cases. Our most recent success was our client was charged with attacking and stabbing the victim in their home. After conducting extensive discovery, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing all the factors contained in the case, we were able to get the cause dismissed.
We handle numerous first and repeat DUIs and have excellent success in acquittals or reductions of charges with minimum impact for our clients. As members of the NACDL, we have numerous expert witnesses available to rebut the vast resources of the prosecution and receive favorable rulings.