Being caught with illicit drugs in your possession can be devastating. Even if you had no idea the substances were there, you may still face criminal charges that can result in a prison sentence and hefty fines. Not only that, but this red mark on your criminal record can prevent you from getting jobs, being accepted into school, or even being approved for loans. If you have been charged with drug possession, you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to protect and represent you.
The Champaign drug possession lawyers of Bruno Law Offices are dedicated to providing reliable legal services to all of our clients. We can provide you with the effective legal representation you need. Contact us at (217) 328-6000 to schedule your free initial consultation.
Why do you need a lawyer?
Drug possession charges can include fines, jail time, and probation. These charges are serious, the penalties can be severe, and you don’t want to risk a conviction by trying to fight these charges on your own. While you could have the court appoint a public defender to represent you, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney who has the time and the resources to dedicate to your case. A dedicated and experienced Champaign drug possession attorney will understand all facets of this area of law. They know how to prove, or disprove, what the substance in question was and how much of it was possessed. Both items are crucial to getting the charges against you reduced or dropped altogether.
Founded in 1980, Bruno Law Offices focuses on the defense of serious criminal and DUI cases. Originally founded by Thomas Bruno, his two sons, Anthony and Evan now practice alongside him. Together the team of attorneys and support staff at Bruno Law Offices have the skills, experience, and resources necessary to build the strongest possible defense against the charges you face.
Penalties for Drug Possession
The penalties you will face if caught with illegal drugs in your possession will vary depending on the type and amount of drug you were accused of possessing.
Marijuana used to be the most widespread, illicit substance people were charged with possessing in the state, but Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law making Illinois the 11th state in the country to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use. Now, adults are legally able to possess less than 30 grams of marijuana that has been purchased by a licensed seller.
Despite the fact that small amounts of marijuana are legal for adults to have in their possession, larger amounts by those who are not licensed to manufacture or distribute could still result in serious criminal charges.
First time offenders caught with 30 to 100 grams of the substance are charged with a misdemeanor, face 1 year in prison, and fined $2,500. Repeat offenders caught with 30 to 100 grams of the substance are charged with a felony offense, face 1 to 3 years in prison, and fined $25,000. Anyone caught with more than 100 grams could face felony charges, anywhere from 1 to 15 years in prison, and a $25,000 fine.
If you are caught with prescription drugs, heroin, cocaine, or another illicit substance could face even more severe penalties. A first conviction is a felony charge, and depending on the amount of the substance at hand, you could be fined up to $200,000 and be required to spend up to 50 years in jail.
Drug Possession Laws in Illinois
There are many factors that impact sentencing someone for drug possession. Those include proof without a reasonable doubt for:
- Type of illegal substance
- Amount of the substance
- Defendant knowingly possessed the substance
Penalties based on type of illegal substance
When charged with drug possession, it must be proven without reasonable doubt what the substance was. According to Illinois Statutes Section 570/402, below are potential penalties based on the substance found. Imprisonment terms are based upon the amount of the substance possessed.
- Heroin – up to $200,000 in fines and potentially 4 to 50 years prison
- Cocaine – up to $200,000 in fines and potentially 4 to 50 years prison
- Morphine – up to $200,000 in fines and potentially 4 to 50 years prison
- Peyote – up to 25,000 in fines and potentially 4 to 15 years in prison
- Amphetamine – up to 25,000 in fines and potentially 4 to 15 years in prison
- LSD – up to $200,000 in fines and potentially 4 to 50 years prison
- Pentazocine, Methaqualone, Phencyclidine and Ketamine – up to 25,000 in fines and potentially 4 to 15 years in prison
- Anabolic Steroids – up to $1,500 in fines and potentially up to 30 days in prision
- Substances not listed directly in statute – up to $25,000 fines and potentially 1 to 3 years in prison
Amount of substance found
No matter the substance, the amount found will impact the amount of the fine and if and how much prison time is required as part of the sentence. Similar to proving without reasonable doubt what the illegal substance was, it is also required to prove how much of the substance was possessed. One gram can mean the difference between just a few years in prison to five decades. Therefore, it is imperative to have an attorney fighting on your behalf that can prove the actual amount possessed. Or, one that can counter claims thrown it was higher than the amount actually possessed.
Knowingly possessed substance
It has to be proven without a reasonable doubt the defendant knowingly possessed the substance, otherwise, the case will have no merit in an Illinois court of law. This is due
Potential Defense Options
At Bruno Law Offices, we can evaluate the case to understand what the best possible defense will be. Every case is different, so we will choose a defense that we think will gain the most desirable verdict and outcome. A few possible defense choices include:
- The defendant had no knowledge of the drug in his/her possession.
- If the defendant is under 13, then an infancy defense is often best.
- Unstable mental capacity of the defendant.
- The possession in question is a prescription.
These are just some of the many defenses we have experience with using and winning favorable outcomes. We offer free consultations where we can provide legal advice on potential defense strategies, discuss the potential charges you face, and answer any case-specific questions.
If you have been arrested and charged with the crime of illegal drug possession, then the Champaign-Urbana drug possession lawyers of Bruno Law Offices can represent you in court. Contact us today by calling our offices at (217) 328-6000.