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Five Things You Need to Know About Your Heroin Possession Charge

Five Things You Need to Know About Your Heroin Possession ChargeThe state of Illinois is notorious for its toughness on drug crimes, and heroin possession carries particularly serious penalties. If you are convicted on charges of heroin possession, you will be seriously at risk of losing your rights or freedoms, possibly for years or even decades. The possession charges on your criminal record may seriously impair your ability to secure employment, and there may be many other grave consequences that will create a great deal of uncertainty for your future.

Given what is at stake, it is essential that you have as much clarity as possible about the implications of your heroin possession charges. Here are five things you need to know:

1. Heroin is Classed as a Schedule I Controlled Substance

Offenses for Schedule I substances carry the most severe drug charges. Schedule I drugs are substances that do not have any accepted medical uses, that are considered unsafe, and that carry a high potential for abuse. According to the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, it is illegal to possess any material that contains compounds found in heroin.

2. Penalties for Heroin Possession Vary Based on the Amount Seized

The punishment you are likely to face for having heroin seized from you will depend largely on the amount the authorities found in your possession. You can find a complete list of potential penalties in 720 ILCS 570/402. In brief, here is a list of penalties according to quantity:

  • 0–15 grams – Class 4 felony, carrying a 1–3 year-sentence and fines of $25,000
  • 15–99 grams – Class 1 felony, carrying a minimum 4–15 year-sentence and fines of up to $200,000
  • 100–399 grams – Class X felony, carrying a minimum 6–30 year-sentence and fines of up to $200,000 or the street value of the seized substance
  • 400–899 grams – Super Class X felony, carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of 8–40 years and fines of up to $200,000 or the street value of the seized substance
  • Over 900 grams – Class X felony, carrying a mandatory minimum of 10–50 years and fines of up to $200,000 or the street value of the seized substance

In addition to whatever jail time or fines you incur, there will be further repercussions for your career and your education. A conviction for possession of heroin will create a permanent felony record. Often, these records cannot be expunged or sealed. The information will be available to all employers across the United States, not just in Illinois. Furthermore, students become ineligible for government student aid, grants, or loans for one year after their first conviction for drug possession.

3. There’s a Risk of the Addition of Distribution Charges

In many criminal cases in Illinois, those who are found to be in possession of large amounts of heroin may also be subject to drug distribution charges. Delivering even 0.5 grams of heroin has the potential to result in a minimum three-year sentence in prison. Distribution of just 16 grams is considered a Class X felony, the most serious charge in the Illinois criminal code, and can result in a 6–30-year prison sentence. If you are convicted of a Class X felony, there is no option of pleading for your penalties to be reduced to just probation.

The penalties you face will be substantially greater if you are found guilty of possession or distributing within 1500 feet of a school, public park, movie theater, or place of worship.

4. Federal Drug Crimes Carry Harsher Penalties

T4. he most common federal heroin crime is drug trafficking across state borders. These crimes generally include charges of distribution, manufacturing, or cultivating drugs in contravention of federal law. Federal crimes are almost always charged as felonies, and they nearly always carry higher fines and longer prison sentences than state crimes.

5. There Are Effective Defenses for Heroin Charges

There Are Effective Defenses for Heroin ChargesWhile heroin charges are among the most serious drug charges in Illinois, there is no need to feel that all hope is lost. An effective criminal defense attorney may be able to argue for your defense on one or more bases, including:

  • Fourth Amendment: illegal search and seizure
  • You did not have constructive possession (the drug was simply in your presence without your knowledge)
  • Invalid search warrants

Contact an Experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you or someone you care about has been charged with heroin possession in Champaign, it is essential that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. You are probably aware of how serious these charges and their consequences are, but with the Champaign heroin possession attorneys of Bruno Law Offices on your side, you can rest assured that you will have the guidance of skilled and knowledgeable legal professionals. We will inform you about all your legal options and will do everything we can to protect your interests and your liberty. Do not hesitate. Call us today at (217) 328-6000.


What Qualifies as Drug Paraphernalia?

When people think of drug crimes, one that’s often overlooked is possession of drug paraphernalia. But you don’t even have to have drugs on your person or in your home to be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. You can be arrested just for having certain items that are associated with consuming, manufacturing, or distributing controlled substances.

This begs the question, what qualifies as drug paraphernalia? That’s what we wanted to write about today, so keep reading to learn more.

Definition of Drug Paraphernalia

According to the Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Control Act, the term “drug paraphernalia” refers to any equipment, materials, or products used or intended to be used to plant, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, package, prepare, test, store, contain, or conceal a controlled substance. It also includes devices that could be used by someone to ingest, inhale, inject, or otherwise use a controlled substance. There are also two separate definitions of drug paraphernalia that are specific to methamphetamine and cannabis, which can be found in the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act and Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, respectively.

Practically speaking, drug paraphernalia includes but is not limited to things like:

  • Kits used to manufacture, compound, process, or prepare controlled substances like cocaine or heroin
  • Certain chemicals used in the preparation of or to dilute controlled substances
  • Carburetion pipes, tubes, and similar devices
  • Smoking masks
  • Miniature spoons
  • Small vials that could be used to store cocaine or heroin
  • Water pipes, carburetor pipes, air-driven pipes, and ice pipes
  • Bongs

Finally, the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act includes a catch-call clause stating that anything that is described or announced by its seller for a use that violates the Act can be considered drug paraphernalia.

Penalties for Possession of Drug Paraphernalia

Under Illinois law, possession of drug paraphernalia is a Class A misdemeanor. Potential penalties include a minimum $750 fine, though the fine could go as high as $2,500. You could also face up to 364 days in jail.

While these penalties may seem fairly minor, especially in comparison to the penalties for other drug crimes, it’s important to remember that people are rarely charged solely with possession of drug paraphernalia. When possession of drug paraphernalia is included as part of a broader criminal case, the additional charges could trigger additional penalties that are much steeper than those for simple possession of paraphernalia. This is partly why it’s so important to speak to a lawyer as soon as you can if you’re accused of possessing drug paraphernalia.

How We Can Help If You’re Accused of Possessing Drug Paraphernalia

We hope we’ve made it clear that you should treat being charged with possessing drug paraphernalia as seriously as you would any other drug charge. Here’s what our criminal defense lawyers can do for you if you’re accused of possessing drug paraphernalia:

  • Explain the charges against you and the potential penalties. We can tell you what exactly you’re being accused of possessing and what penalties you may face, depending on the items in question. If you are facing additional charges, we can explain those as well, along with the potential penalties and the next steps in your case.
  • Uphold your rights. You have certain rights under state and federal law if you’ve been arrested. These include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, the right to know the charges against you, and protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. These rights are critical to making sure you’re treated fairly by police and prosecutors during your case. We can help protect you from any unconstitutional actions by law enforcement officials.
  • Build your defense. By looking at the evidence against you, we may discover that it’s possible to have the charges against you dismissed or reduced, sparing you from the worst possible penalties. For example, if the paraphernalia seized by police was obtained through an illegal search, we can seek to have that evidence dismissed, which could lead to prosecutors abandoning their case.
  • Negotiate a plea agreement. If it’s in your best interest to do so, we can work with police and prosecutors to secure a plea agreement that reduces the charges and potential penalties you may face.
  • Represent you in court. You’ll likely have to attend several court hearings as part of your case, even if your case never reaches the trial stage. These hearings are critical, and it’s important to have someone with you who knows what’s happening and what to do. Our lawyers have extensive courtroom experience and can guide you through these tense hearings.

Don’t Go Through It Alone. Call Bruno Law Offices Today

A possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious issue, though it may not seem like it. Contact the Champaign drug crime lawyers of Bruno Law Offices right away if you need a criminal defense lawyer. You can reach us at (217) 328-6000 or by visiting our contact page.


Student receives reduced charges and probation after pleading guilty

A student from the University of Illinois was sentenced after pleading guilty to the Class 3 felony of one count of possession of cannabis with intent to deliver between 30-500 grams, according to the News-Gazette on May 27.

For pleading guilty, the student received a reprieve on more serious charges brought against her, including the intent to deliver LSD and ecstasy. In addition to being expelled from school, she received two years of probation, four months of electronic home detention, 100 hours of community service, and a hefty fine of $15,600.

Two other students were charged with similar crimes; all three had been under covert investigation for about a year.

The attorneys at Bruno Law Offices help those who have been charged with drug crimes in the Champaign area achieve the best possible results from their case. If your future is at risk because of charges brought against you, enlist the help of our legal team by calling 217-328-6000 today.


Hoopeston man arrested for cannabis possession

Thirty-four-year-old Hoopeston, Illinois resident Kareem Marshall is currently detained at the Champaign County Jail with a $10,000 bond after being arrested for charges of felony unlawful possession with intent to deliver cannabis, The News-Gazette reported on December 31.

A police report showed that Marshall, holding a duffel bag, asked the clerk on duty at the front desk of a Residence Inn located at 502 W. Marketview Drive C for a key to a room under his girlfriend’s name. The clerk called the police after becoming suspicious of a marijuana smell in Marshall’s presence. The police knocked on the door of Marshall and his girlfriend’s room, but they were not answered.

Police arrested Marshall behind the motel building, where they found him crouched behind an electrical box with the duffel bag on the ground.

A leafy substance inside the duffel bags tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol, a substance found in the cannabis plant, the police report showed. The three bags weighed 502.5 grams, 138.2 grams, and 14.3 grams, respectively.

The attorneys at Bruno Law Offices are well-known and respected in the field of criminal defense in the Champaign-Urbana areas in Illinois. If you are facing criminal charges, it is critical to the success of your case to immediately enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney, who will work on behalf of your rights and interests. Call our offices today at (217) 328-6000 for an initial consultation with our legal professionals today.


Woman Sentenced to Probation in Connection to Drug Charges

A 20-year-old woman was recently sentenced to 4 years of probation after being convicted on Class 1 felony charges, which can carry sentences as high as 15 years in prison. The woman was accused of being part of a drug selling ring operating in Urbana, IL, and was one of five people arrested on February 2, 2013 outside of a concert at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Since being arrested, the young woman resumed her college coursework, secured a job at a bank, and also began volunteering with a children’s disability group.

At the time of her arrest, the woman had 44 MDMA pills on her, and others in the group were accused of attempting to sell cocaine, Ecstasy, nitrous oxide, cannabis, and LSD to college students. Other members of the drug distribution group have received prison sentences up to 12 years. One final individual was arrested in connection with this group, and was charged with money laundering.

To read more about this case, click here.

If you are facing drug charges of any kind, you need an experienced attorney on your side to help you fight these charges. For the experienced representation you need, contact Bruno Law Offices today by calling (217) 328-6000.


Marijuana found in one of Justin Beiber’s tour buses

Prior to Canadian teen singer Justin Bieber’s performance at the Joe Louis Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Friday, June 28, police authorities confiscated a sufficient amount of marijuana for personal use from one of his tour buses.

According to an e-mail sent by U.S. Customs and Border Protection chief public liaisons officer Kenneth Hammond to reporters on Monday, July 29, they were alerted by a report that Bieber’s bus was attempting to go into Canada through the Ambassador Bridge. The authorities’ raided Bieber’s bus, after trained dogs alerted them to the possible presence of marijuana. A small amount of marijuana intended for personal consumption and drug paraphernalia was found.

Our attorneys at the Bruno Law Offices can provide anyone in Champaign charged with a drug crime with the skilled and competent legal representation necessary to protect their freedoms. Contact our office today at 217-328-6000 to schedule your initial consultation with us.


Medical condition saves drug cartel member from prison sentence

A 25-year-old Saybrook resident, who was a defendant in a McLean County drug trafficking case, was kept from getting almost a decade in prison due to a serious medical affliction that he has had since childhood.

Dustin Pulliam, who was involved in a massive marijuana shipment operation from California to multiple sources in McLean County, was given 36 months of probation instead of jail time through the Illinois Department of Corrections due to medical evidence showing that he has been suffering from cystic fibrosis since he was four months old.

Cystic fibrosis is a hereditary respiratory and digestive disease that clogs the lungs and obstructs the pancreas.

Pulliam pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge in December 2012, leading to the arrest of 23-year-old Nathaniel Nowlin (sentenced to 14 years) in California, 23-year-old Wesley Harvey of Ellsworth (sentenced to 9 years), Nowlin’s 66-year-old grandmother Michelle Donnell, and Nowlin’s brother Tylor, 22.

If you have been charged with drug crimes, whether similar to those that the defendants in this case faced or a different criminal charge, you deserve to defend your rights in court. And, with the help of our lawyers at Bruno Law Offices, you can present a strong defense for yourself. Call 217-328-6000 to discuss how we might be able to help.


Drug charges filed against Champaign man

Over the weekend, a 47-year-old Champaign man was arrested after police responded to a call regarding shots being fired near Fourth and Hill streets. According to the report, several shots were fired in the area, and two groups of men dispersed from the area before police arrived at the scene.

Once police arrived, they evacuated homes in the area where the shots were fired. A crashed pickup truck was discovered, and police obtained a warrant to search a home on Church Street. Once the police searched the home in the 400 block of East Church Street, they found drug paraphernalia, drugs, four separate handguns, and a Champaign man close to the premises.

The man was arrested, and charged with unlawful possession of a controlled substance, and the unlawful possession of a firearm. He pleaded innocent to the charges set against him, and his court date was set for December 11.

If you have been charged with drug possession in Champaign, please contact the drug crime lawyers of Bruno Law Offices by calling 217-328-6000 today.


Man charged with drug possession in Urbana while out on bond

On May 5, a 38-year-old Urbana man was arrested after he was found in a vehicle with a substantial amount of heroin and cash on him. He was taken to jail and released on bond. He arrived in court for that charge last Tuesday, and his hearing was extended to July 24.

The man was still on bond last Thursday, two days after his court appearance for the initial charge, when he was arrested again. He was a passenger in a motor vehicle that was stopped by police around 3 p.m. in Champaign. A drug detection dog indicated to police that there were drugs in the vehicle.

Police discovered that the man had crack cocaine and heroin on his body. He was charged with intent to deliver narcotics and drug possession. He now faces charges for the two separate drug-related incidents, and if  he is convicted of both counts, he will have to serve the terms back-to-back.

If you have been charged with heroin possession, please contact the heroin possession lawyers of Bruno Law Offices by calling 217-328-6000 today.


Meth drug bust in Algonquin

On Tuesday, Feb 2, McHenry County Sheriff’s Police seized 700 grams, or $25,000 worth of methamphetamine at an Algonquin home.

This was found to be unusual in the northwest part of Illinois, as the use methamphetamine is more common in the central and southern parts of the state. According to Illinois State Police Master Sergeant Bill Backus, “The greater Chicagoland area is still not seeing the prevalence in cases that we see in the southern and western part of the state…I have not seen or heard of any upswing of meth-related incidents…”

According to a 2007 Illinois Meth Project study, one in four teens in Springfield, Decatur, Champaign, and the surrounding areas said that locating meth is “very easy” or “somewhat easy.”

If you have been charged with drug possession, contact Champaign drug defense lawyers of Bruno Law Offices, P.A. by calling 217-328-6000.

Bruno Law Offices
301 W Green St
Urbana, IL 61801
Tel: (217) 328-6000
Fax: (217) 328-6765

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