A Skilled and Knowledgeable Criminal Attorney Can and Will Guide You More Easily Through the Illinois Criminal Process

Some of the most frequently prosecuted criminal cases in Chicago and all of Illinois involve violations of the various drug laws.  In Chicago and Cook County, the most common drug cases involve cannabis (marijuana), cocaine and heroin.  Other cases involve narcotics such as methamphetamine, ecstasy, PCP and other illegal drugs.  The severity of the offense and the possible punishment involved depends on many factors that will be covered below.

The first factor in determining the severity of a particular drug offense is to look at the particular substance involved in the case.  A violation of the cannabis laws generally results in the prosecution of a misdemeanor offense unless the person possessed more than 30 grams or possessed more than 10 grams with the intent to deliver (sell) or actually delivered that amount.  As such, cannabis, although illegal in Illinois, is the least serious of the typical narcotics bough and sold in Chicago and the suburbs.  On the other hand, possession of any amount of cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or most other narcotics is considered a felony offense.  This is true regardless of the quantity possessed.  In Illinois, there is no such thing as a misdemeanor amount of cocaine, heroin or methamphetamine.

The second factor in determining possible punishment is the quantity or weight of the particular drug involved.  Generally speaking, the higher the quantity of a particular drug that is found, the higher the offense level and possible punishment.  For cannabis, the following weight categories will determine the level of offense.  2.5 grams or less (Class C misdemeanor), more than 2.5 grams but less than 10 grams (Class B misdemeanor), more than 10 grams but not more than 30 grams (Class A misdemeanor), More than 30 grams but not more than 500 grams (Class 4 felony) and so on.  If a person possesses over 5,000 grams of cannabis, they face a Class 1 felony punishable by from 4-15 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

For controlled substances such as cocaine and heroin, the weight classifications break down in the following manner. Less than 15 grams (Class 4 felony), more than 15 grams but not more than 100 grams (Class 1 felony), more than 100 grams but not more than 400 grams (Class X felony), more than 400 grams but not more than 900 grams (Super Class X felony).  As you can see, narcotics such as cocaine and heroin are much more serious than cannabis and smaller quantities can land a person in prison for a very long time.  It is important to note that Illinois law makes no distinction between “crack” cocaine and “powder” cocaine (unlike the federal laws).

The third main factor in determining a range of punishment is whether the person simply possessed an illegal substance or whether they delivered the substance or possessed it with the intent to deliver.  Any time a person delivers or intends to deliver a controlled substance, the punishment is more severe than simple possession.  The idea of course being that the society wants to punish the dealer or trafficker more severely than the user.  Prosecutors have an easy charging decision when the suspect is actually caught selling narcotics to a citizen or an undercover police officer.  The more difficult decisions come when the person was not caught selling but possessed an amount that seems too large for personal consumption.  Prosecutors and police will look not only at the quantity of the substance but whether there was other evidence of intent to deliver.  Examples include large amounts of cash, digital scales or other evidence that would suggest the person arrested was in the business of selling illegal drugs instead of simply using them.

Should you find yourself facing criminal prosecution for a drug crime in Chicago, or any city in Illinois, then you should immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.  In drug cases, police often search people in violation of their constitutional rights.  An aggressive lawyer may be able to force the prosecution to dismiss a drug case where police misconduct violated the rights of the accused.  A skilled and knowledgeable criminal attorney can and will guide you more easily through the criminal process and give you the best opportunity to avoid jail, large fines and a criminal record.

Should you find yourself facing criminal prosecution for retail theft / shoplifting, you should immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.  A skilled and knowledgeable criminal attorney will guide you more easily through the process and give you the best opportunity to avoid jail, large fines and a criminal record.

Andrew M. Weisberg is an aggressive criminal attorney Chicago who has been serving clients throughout Illinois for many years. Areas of expertise are in laws relating to murder, traffic violations and more. Hire an experienced drug crimes lawyer Chicago


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