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What to know about drug possession charges in Illinois

| Jul 27, 2020 | Drug possession |

The public’s attitude regarding drug use is changing rapidly. However, the possession, use and distribution of controlled substances remains illegal in Illinois. Here, we will take a look at the state’s current laws regarding drug possession.

Illinois’s drug possession laws

The major law in Illinois that addresses the possession of controlled substances is the Illinois Controlled Substances Act (ICSA). The act lists the various drugs that are illegal in the state, such as:

  • Marijuana
  • Heroin
  • Cocaine
  • Amphetamines and methamphetamines
  • LSD
  • Prescription medications obtained or used unlawfully

Under the ICSA, there are two types of crimes pertaining to controlled substances:

  • Possession of a controlled substance: This charge tends to be less serious, though its severity increases with the amount of controlled substance found.
  • Possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute: This charge usually carries harsher penalties, as the defendant not only possessed the drugs but also intended to distribute them.

The state has the burden of proof when pressing charges against someone. It must prove, among other things, that law enforcement found illicit drugs on your person, vehicle or place of residence.

What are the penalties?

The consequences of a drug-related conviction can impact your life permanently. First-time offenders usually receive lighter sentences than repeat offenders. The severity of the penalties usually increases proportionate to the amount of drugs found at the scene.

The penalties can include:

  • Expensive fines
  • Mandatory drug education and treatment programs
  • Community service
  • Probation
  • Jail time of up to 50 years

Drug possession is a serious charge that can have lifelong consequences if the state convicts you. Working with a criminal defense lawyer can protect your rights, minimize the impact of the charges on your life and help you escape the consequences of the criminal justice system.