Chicago Crime Lawyer Resources

Drug Crime Penalties in Illinois

Drug crime penalties in Illinois are severe so you need to find experienced drug lawyers in Chicago, Illinois with a track record of winning drug cases. For superior representation on Illinois and Federal drug cases, call our Chicago criminal defense law firm now at (312) 466-9466.

The first step in fighting drug charges in Illinois is understanding the charges and the corresponding drug crime penalties in Illinois. This article serves as a primer on the consequences of a drug crime conviction in Illinois. Of course, a good Illinois drug lawyer will maximize your chances of gettting off or getting a greatly reduced penalty for a lesser conviction.

Greater Weight = Greater Punishment

Almost every drug crime has a sentence determined primarily by the weight or amount of drugs involved. In Illinois, a possession of less than 1 gram of cocaine or heroin is a Class 4 felony, with a sentence of probation or a range of 1 to 3 years in the Department of Corrections being the punishment. Increase the amount to 900 grams and the sentence becomes 10 to 50 years in the Department of Corrections. 720 ILCS 570/402. Similarly, a delivery of less than one gram of cocaine or heroin results in a Class 2 felony, with a sentencing range of 4 to 15 years in prison, with probation being a possibility. If the amount of drugs is 900 grams, the range is 15 to 60 years.

Federal drug laws are also weight driven. Although Federal sentencing has numerous variables to complex to explain in this section, a delivery of 100 grams of heroin has a sentencing range of 5 to 40 years, while a kilogram of heroin has a range of 10 years to Life.

Other enhancements, such as Delivery within 1000 feet of a school, park, church, etc. can enhance penalties.

To know exactly what punishment you may face, you need the assistance of an experience criminal defense attorney like Steven R. Hunter.

Additional Penalties

In addition to a possible prison sentence, drug convictions also carry a variety of financial penalties. Some are substantial. When making a decision about whether or not to fight a case, accused persons are well advised to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to learn what a guilty plea might really cost them.

Forfeitures, Fines, and Assessments

State drug arrests are frequently accompanied by a forfeitures, fines or drug assessments.

Property that is considered the proceeds of illegal activity or used to facilitate drug activity is subject of forfeiture. See 720 ILCS 550/12 and 720 ILCS 570/505. For example, a person driving a car with $10,000 in cash in his pocket and cocaine in the glove compartment will very likely see the police seize both the money and the car. He will receive notice of a forfeiture proceeding. To fight the forfeiture, an individual must follow the procedures set forth in the Drug Asset Forfeiture Procedure Act.

A vehicle which contains drugs might also be impounded by the City of Chicago. An impoundment involves the police seizing a vehicle in which drugs were found and only releasing it when certain costs and fees have been paid. It is difficult to fight an impoundment because the legal fees would typically be greater than the amount of money demanded for the release of the car.

Even if money is not seized, courts may impose fines after a conviction. Fines may go as high as $200,000 or the "full street value" of the drugs. 720 ILCS 570/402(b). A judge may impose a fine, but does not have to do so, and in Cook County large fines are rare.

Sentencing judges have no discretion about drug assessments. When a person is convicted of a drug offense, a drug assessment must be imposed. See 720 ILCS 550/10.3, 570/411.2. The amount of the assessment depends on the Class of the felony. The rates are as follows:

(1) $3,000 for a Class X felony;

(2) $2,000 for a Class 1 felony;

(3) $1,000 for a Class 2 felony;

(4) $500 for a Class 3 or Class 4 felony;

(5) $300 for a Class A misdemeanor;

(6) $200 for a Class B or Class C misdemeanor.

These assessments cannot be negotiated away and will be imposed upon a judgment of guilty in any drug case.

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