Drug trafficking and distribution – the selling, transportation, or illegal import of unlawful controlled substances and illegal drugs — are serious crimes, and the penalties are severe. The government can seize property and assets it believes were acquired with the proceeds from illegal drug activity. Even worse, under Illinois law, you might be faced with stiff prison sentences. Federal statutes may also come into play, and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) may take over a drug trafficking case if there is a suspicion that the controlled substance has been moved into Illinois from another state or country.
Because of the potential of harm to others, drug trafficking is punished more severely than mere possession. The Illinois Controlled Substance Act states its intention to “penalize most heavily the illicit traffickers or profiteers of controlled substances, who propagate and perpetuate the abuse of such substances with reckless disregard for its consumptive consequences upon every element of society.”
If you are accused of these crimes, you need legal counsel. The experienced Illinois drug trafficking attorneys at Wolfe and Stec understand the system and can help you deal with charges of drug trafficking and distribution.
The Controlled Substance Act states controlled substance trafficking occurs when a person knowingly brings or causes to be brought into Illinois a controlled or counterfeit substance for the purpose of manufacture or delivery, or with the intent to manufacture or deliver such substance, within the state or to any other state or country. Drug trafficking charges depend upon the amount of drugs in your possession, and this differs depending on the type of drug. Anytime you possess an amount of drugs over the trafficking limit, you can be convicted of drug trafficking.
Since drug trafficking is dealt with more severely than possession, if you’ve been arrested with controlled substances and drugs, you may be charged with the more serious crime of drug trafficking if police believe you intend to sell them. You may also be charged with drug distribution or trafficking if you are found with a large amount of drugs or cash. This applies to drugs such as heroin, cocaine, LSD, and methamphetamine, but also to the illegal distribution of prescription drugs, such as hydrocodone products, pain killers and pharmaceutical opiates.
When a state or federal government classifies a substance as “controlled,” it generally means that the use and distribution of the substance is governed by law. Controlled substances are often classified under “schedules” under federal and state statutes, and this classification may be different in each case.
Illinois law classifies drugs from Schedule I to Schedule V according to factors such as the potential for abuse and whether the drug has any medical 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.
See http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53 for a complete list of drugs and their classifications.
The Illinois Controlled Substances Act imposes harsh penalties on those convicted of controlled substance trafficking. A person must serve a mandatory minimum sentence and cannot be released on parole until that time has passed. If convicted, you will be sentenced to a minimum term of imprisonment not less than twice the minimum term for possession, plus a fine. The maximum term of imprisonment could be twice the maximum term for possession, plus a fine.
Penalties for controlled-substance possession, manufacturing and delivery offenses range in seriousness from a low of a Class 3 felony (that has a base sentence of 2-5 years and if the crime is extended term eligible, it can be 5-10 years) 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.
There are defenses against drug trafficking/distribution charges. For you to be convicted, it must be shown that you possessed the required amount of the illegal drugs and that your possession was intentional. The prosecution must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a defendant (1) knowingly (2) brought a controlled substance into the state (3) for the purpose of delivery or with the intent to deliver it elsewhere. This must be proved for bringing of the controlled substance into Illinois as well as for the goal of its delivery within or outside of the state.
Therefore, you may have a good chance to defend charges if one of the following can be shown:
The criminal defense lawyers at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. are skilled trial lawyers who believe each case is unique, with its own set of circumstances. We know the judges and the court system and will aggressively explore every avenue for your defense.