How to Avoid a Marijuana Possession Charge

Now that recreational marijuana use by adults is legal in Illinois, I can’t get arrested for possession, right? Wrong.

Although Illinois has relaxed certain restrictions relating to an adult’s possession and use of recreational marijuana, you can still be arrested and face stiff penalties for violating numerous regulations that are still in place. Illinois House Bill 1438, which Governor Pritzker signed into law effective January 1, 2020, significantly limits how much marijuana you can have, where you can buy it, with whom you can share it, and where you are not legally permitted to smoke it.

For example, although Illinois considers you an adult at age 18 for some purposes, such as signing legally binding agreements, etc., you cannot purchase marijuana in Illinois unless you are at least 21 years old. When you do buy marijuana for recreational use, you can only legally purchase it from a dispensary or a cultivator that has obtained a license from the State of Illinois. Let’s say you wind up attracting law enforcement’s attention and are found to have recreational marijuana in your possession. If you can’t prove you purchased it through a licensed facility, you can be arrested, charged, and likely convicted.

Assuming you can prove that you are over 21 and that you purchased your marijuana from a state-licensed facility, you’re in the clear, right?  Wrong.

First, the maximum amount an Illinois resident can purchase is 30 grams (one ounce) of cannabis plant material, and non-residents can purchase no more than 15 grams (.5 ounces). An adult who legally possesses recreational marijuana is still prohibited from, among other things:

  • Selling it to or sharing it with any person under 21
  • Carrying it onto any school property
  • Smoking or consuming marijuana in open public areas
  • Driving while under the influence of marijuana
  • Transporting and delivering cannabis without a special transportation license

The penalties for violating these provisions can range from a Class A misdemeanor (maximum of one year in prison and a $2,500.00 fine) to a Class 1 felony (between 4- and 15-year prison term and up to $25,000.00 fine). The following are the charges and penalties for marijuana possession based on the amount:

30 to 100 grams

  • Class A misdemeanor
  • Maximum of one year in prison
  • Up to a $2,500 fine

100 to 500 grams

  • Class 4 felony
  • One to three years in prison
  • Up to a $25,000 fine

500 to 2,000 grams

  • Class 3 felony
  • Two to five years in prison
  • Up to a $25,000 fine

2,000 to 5,000 grams

  • Class 2 felony
  • Three to seven years in prison
  • Up to a $25,000 fine

More than 5,000 grams

  • Class 1 felony
  • Four to 15 years in prison
  • Up to a $25,000 fine

Penalties become even stiffer if the prosecutor can prove that you intended to sell some or all of the marijuana in your possession. Moreover, you can also be charged and convicted for selling marijuana paraphernalia without a license, even if you do not sell or distribute marijuana with the device. Most importantly, even if you are convicted of what you consider to be one of the “lesser offenses” identified above, you will still have a criminal record, which, in turn, could adversely affect your ability to obtain employment, to qualify for certain insurance benefits, or to buy or lease a residence.

Finally, although Illinois law recognizes marijuana may be effective in treating or lessening the effect of certain injuries or ailments, obtaining a “medical marijuana” card does not automatically make you exempt from all Illinois laws pertaining to marijuana possession and use. Under Illinois’ Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act, the patient must register with the State and must submit competent evidence of a “debilitating condition,” the definition of which includes, among other diseases and ailments, the following:

  • Autism
  • Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Hepatitis C
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Hydromyelia
  • Interstitial cystitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Lupus
  • Migraines
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Neurofibromatosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Residual limb pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Seizures (including those characteristic of Epilepsy)
  • Severe fibromyalgia
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Spinal cord disease (including but not limited to arachnoiditis)
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Ulcerative colitis

If you cannot prove that you suffer from one of the conditions set forth above or listed in the cited statute or if the State revokes your authorization under the Program, your right to possess marijuana reverts to your original status before you received your card.

Contact Us

Our Champaign marijuana possession attorneys dedicate our personalized and undivided attention to every single detail of the cases we take on. At Bruno Law Offices, we know the details can spell the difference between an acquittal and a conviction for our clients. We’re ready to take your call and meet you for a free initial consultation. Call us today at (217) 328-6000 or contact us online to learn more.

 


How to Beat a DUI

You thought you were driving just fine. The traffic cop currently on your tail begs to differ. You completely flubbed the field sobriety test, and you just blew a .09 BAC on the Breathalyzer. Now what? You’re in big trouble, and it will go from bad to worse very quickly unless you get the highly skilled and experienced attorneys from Bruno Law Offices on your side. If you haven’t called them already, stop what you’re doing and call them right now at (217) 328-6000.

Can I Really Contest a DUI Charge?

Your driving privileges, your job, and your liberty are now in serious jeopardy. This is no time for amateurs. The prosecutor brings – and wins — hundreds of DUI cases every month. A substantial percentage of those wins are obtained against first-time DUI offenders. That doesn’t have to happen to you. There are ways to beat a DUI charge or to negotiate lesser charges and penalties but trying to do it yourself is like taking a knife to a gunfight. Your Bruno Law Offices attorney can bring the heavy artillery and level the playing field, so you have a chance to contain the fallout from this unfortunate incident before it costs you everything.

The first thing you need to know is that, under Illinois law, you are presumed innocent, and the prosecutor has to prove every element of the DUI charge against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If your attorney from [firm name] helps you prevent the prosecutor from making his case, you can be acquitted of the charges—that is, found not guilty. So how, exactly, do the attorneys at Bruno Law Offices convince the judge or jury that there is reasonable doubt about whether the prosecutor made his case? While every matter is unique and is decided on its own specific facts, the attorneys at Bruno Law Offices have helped many clients in similar circumstances. We have found the following strategies helpful if the situation warrants these strategies.

  • Challenge the basis for the traffic stop. A police officer must have a reasonable basis to pull you over and detain you. That means the officer has to identify specific behavior that shows you violated a traffic law or some other law. While weaving from side to side in your own lane without actually leaving the lane may look bad, it is not illegal. If you can demonstrate that you did not commit any traffic violation before the officer pulled you over, the court may find the arrest unlawful and refuse to admit any evidence obtained during the arrest.
  • Attack the reliability of the field sobriety test. In many cases, the officer cites your “failing” the field sobriety test as the basis for demanding that you submit to a breathalyzer test. The truth is, there are some people who couldn’t pass the field sobriety test even when stone-cold sober. Numerous factors influence how an individual driver performs when asked to stand on one leg or touch his nose with his finger. A driver suffering from an injury, obesity, diabetes, old age, or on heavy medication might appear to be intoxicated when doing these “tricks” on the side of the road with other cars zipping by at high speeds. If you can prove the officer misjudged your condition and therefore should not have made you submit to the breathalyzer test, any results obtained from that test may be excluded from evidence.
  • Contest the validity of the breathalyzer results. Breathalyzer units are sophisticated but sensitive devices. Each manufacturer establishes its own protocols for operating the unit so that the results may be considered valid. If the unit operator does not faithfully adhere to those requirements, the unit will produce inaccurate readings. The Illinois Supreme Court recognized more than 30 years ago that breathalyzer tests are not “flawless.” Where a variance of .01 percent BAC one way or the other could determine whether you’re found guilty or innocent, it’s worth it to rigorously challenge how both the unit and the operator performed. If the court excludes an adverse breathalyzer result from the case, the prosecutor may have to dismiss the charges against you.
  • Undermine the results of any blood tests. Like the breathalyzer unit discussed above, the equipment used to measure the alcohol concentration in the driver’s bloodstream must be properly calibrated and operated in full compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions to reliably produce valid results. If the prosecutor cannot prove that the blood test results are scientifically valid, the court may not admit the evidence, and the case is over.

Contact Us

If you find yourself arrested for or charged with a DUI, don’t panic. You don’t have to go through this alone. Call Bruno Law Offices at (217) 328-6000 today to set up your initial consultation. You can’t afford not to.


Four Chicago residents accused of hate crime

Four people were charged with hate crimes, kidnapping, aggravated battery, and aggravated lawful restraint on Thursday, January 5 in relation to a video posted on Facebook that showed them assaulting a man.

Authorities said they found the disoriented victim wandering the streets and were able to surmise that the assault had gone on for hours. The suspects can be seen in the video cursing white people and President-elect Donald Trump.

According to police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, the 18-year-old man from Chicago was singled out not because he was a white man but because he was mentally disabled. The parents of the victim told police that he was missing on Monday, January 2 and they later received text messages from people who claimed they had kidnapped him. The victim was with classmates who turned out to be attackers, and the victim initially went with them by his own volition, police said. The video showed the victim had a gaping wound on his head and a person pushing the victim with his or her foot was also shown in the video.

Our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices provide legal services to our clients in Champaign and other areas in Illinois. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team by calling our offices today at (217) 328-6000.


Gang rap videos used in murder trial still questionable

Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis issued a ruling that two violent gang rap videos cannot be used as “substantive evidence” in the defense of 18-year-old Champaign, Illinois resident Shamario Brown. Brown was charged with first-degree murder and aggravated discharge of a firearm, leading the judge to say the videos can be used to discredit the credibility of state witnesses.

Brown is set to be tried on Monday, January 30 for the June 12, 2016 murder of 30-year-old Champaign resident Ericka Cox-Bailey, who died when a bullet from a passing car struck her as she was walking along Francis Drive near McKinley Avenue. Police officials say the shots that killed her were intended for members of a rival gang. Champaign resident Oshay Cotton and East Macon, Georgia resident Takario Greene, both 19, who were inside the passing car with Brown, were also charged for Cox-Bailey’s murder.

We at the Bruno Law Offices are problem solvers and are great with overcoming challenges. As such, individuals who are charged with criminal offenses should know we will come up with comprehensive and strategic legal defenses. Call our Champaign offices today at (217) 328-6000 to discuss your case.


Former congressman Aaron Schock pleads not guilty to felony charges

Thirty-five-year-old former Representative Aaron Schock (Republican of Illinois) has maintained his innocence ever since federal prosecutors charged him with 24-count indictment in November, pleading not guilty last Monday, December 12 to two dozen counts of felony corruption, including wire and mail fraud, stealing government funds, filing false tax returns, and falsifying federal campaign forms.

Federal prosecutors accused Schock of using his campaign funds and congressional office to purchase things for himself.

Timothy Bass, one of such prosecutors, is apprehensive about allowing Schlock to continue using his campaign funds to pay for his attorney’s fees and other “unsupervised expenditures”, saying, “These campaign funds are potential victims of the crimes charged.

If you are facing prosecution for a criminal charge in the Champaign-Urbana area of Illinois, or other areas in the state, do not hesitate to seek legal representation from our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices by calling us today at (217) 328-6000 as soon as you can. Speak with a qualified member of our legal team today.


Fourth suspect in U.S. Cellular in Dixon robbery arrested

A fourth suspect, in connection to an armed robbery at a store of telecommunications company U.S. Cellular in Dixon, Illinois, was taken into police custody.

The robbery happened at the Keul Road store on Thursday, November 10 around 7:30 p.m. Reports showed that three individuals who were wearing masks and who were carrying handguns infiltrated the store and ordered the store’s employees to file into a back room, where they would be tied up. After securing the employees, the robbers made off with several items and cash.

On Tuesday, November 29, 23-year-old Anthony Jamerson surrendered to the Dixon Police Department. He was charged with multiple counts of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, aggravated robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated armed robbery, and unlawful restraint.

In order to convict you of criminal offenses, prosecutors in Champaign-Urbana will need to prove, beyond any reasonable doubt, that you had both a specific intent and knowledge of the offense that you have been charged with. Get in touch with our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices by calling our offices today at (217) 328-6000.


Man charged with drug possession can face up to 30 years in jail

Juvon Mays, 35, is facing up to 30 years of imprisonment on charges of possession with intent to deliver both heroin and cannabis. The Champaign, Illinois man will face sentencing by Judge Heidi Ladd on Wednesday, December 21.

Mays’ trial began on Monday, November 14. During a raid on the house where Mays was arrested, police investigators managed to recover one gun behind a house Mays was exiting; two guns near a garage at the same house; and a bag of heroin, which reportedly weighed 4 grams, under a car located about three houses down. No guns or drugs were found on Mays’ person.

We at the Bruno Law Offices are prepared to protect you and your legal rights in court if you employ our legal representation for your criminal defense case in Champaign or another area of Illinois. Contact us today at (217) 328-6000 to speak with a qualified member of our legal team about your situation.


Former U.S. congressman Aaron Schock receives indictment on two criminal counts

Thirty-five-year-old former United States Representative Aaron Schock (Republican of Illinois) once had a $5,000 chandelier attached to his government office, cementing the rumors that he loved the good and expensive life.

In a sweeping 24-count grand jury indictment given to him on Thursday, November 10 in Springfield, prosecutors constructed in detail the circumstances in which Schock used House of Representatives and campaign funds to support his lavish lifestyle.

Among the charges that Schock faces are nine counts of wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, two counts of making false statements, five counts of filing false reports with federal election officials, and six counts of filing false tax returns.

In a statement, U.S. attorney in Springfield James Lewis said, “Mr. Schock held public office at the time of the alleged offenses, but public office does not exempt him or anyone else from accountability for alleged intentional misuse of public funds and campaign funds.”

Our attorneys at The Bruno Law Offices are focused on providing each and every one of our clients in Champaign-Urbana or other areas in Illinois with the personalized legal services that they require in order to win a criminal defense case. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000.


Illinois state trooper convicted of misconduct and bribery

A jury in Vermilion County, Illinois deliberated for two hours last Tuesday, November 8 before finding 46-year-old Westville resident Keith Lumsargis, an Illinois state trooper, guilty of official misconduct and bribery.

Lumsargis, who worked for the state police for 13 years, was taken into police custody in May 2014 at the Possum Trot restaurant in Oakwood after treating a police officer from Tilton to dinner. At the time, Lumsargis believed the police officer fulfilled his promise to give parking tickets to his ex-girlfriend. Lumsargis allegedly solicited multiple village police officers through text messages and face-to-face conversations, during a period of three months, to stop Mary Bailey and give her a ticket, in early 2014.

Our lawyers at the Bruno Law Offices have successfully defended serious criminal cases in state and federal courts, including death penalty murder cases. If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the Champaign-Urbana area or another area of Illinois, get in touch with us by calling our offices today at (217) 328-6000.


Jury selection for Des Plaines man accused of attempted murder now underway

Jury selection for the trial of 20-year-old Des Plaines resident Daniel Dion began last Monday, October 31. Dion made a not guilty plea by reason of insanity to attempted murder charges in relation to allegedly stabbing and critically wounding a 24-year-old Vernon Hills woman outside the Century Theater in Deer Park.

Although the burden of the proof of the crime always lies with the prosecution, proving an insanity plea is on the shoulders of the defense. Under Illinois law, a jury or judge can find an accused not guilty by reason of insanity if the accused is ailing from a disease or defect of the mind “such that he lacks the substantial capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct.”

Our criminal defense lawyers at the Bruno Law Offices, who provide legal services in Champaign-Urbana and other areas in Illinois, handle criminal defense cases such as gun crimes, violent crime, homicide and murder charges, and battery, among others. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 to learn more about your legal options and discuss your situation.

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