If you or a loved one has been arrested for drug possession or other drug-related crimes in DuPage County, contact our firm today to schedule an in-office consultation with our DuPage County drug crime attorneys. Our phone number is (312) 466-9466.
Drug charges are some of the most frequent cases brought by the State's Attorney in DuPage County. In Illinois, roughly one fifth of prisoners are behind bars for drug-related crimes. In DuPage County specifically, there were over 6,000 drug arrests in 2015 by Illinois State Police. The vast majority -- about 87% -- of offenders in those cases were prosecuted under either the Drug Paraphernalia Act or the Cannabis Control Act.
These two acts are part of the Illinois Criminal Code and represent a wider national trend towards stricter drug law enforcement. In recent decades, state and federal prosecutors have upped the number and severity of drug-related prosecutions. In addition, many states have passed stringent "Mandatory Minimum" laws, which require a prison sentence of a certain length if someone is convicted of a drug crime.
In Illinois, convictions for some serious felony drug crimes carry mandatory prison terms. Other more minor offenses are classified as misdemeanors but can still carry heavy fines and the possibility of jail time in the worst case. However, for lower-level offenses, judges have several sentencing options, including treatment or diversion programs that focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment.
We provide representation to DuPage County criminal defendants facing an array of drug-related prosecutions, including:
Each of these charges carries their own sentencing requirements if they turn into a conviction. In the next section, we will discuss what each charge means and the potential penalties if the court finds you Guilty.
What is the difference between Drug Possession, Intent to Deliver, and Delivery?
Possession of drugs, of course, means that you are accused of having illegal drugs. There are two types of possession: actual or constructive possession. The State will make a case for actual possession when drugs are found on your person. With constructive possession, the case is somewhat less clear cut. If the police find drugs in your car or home, you could be accused of constructive possession of drugs. However, the State will have to prove that you were aware of and had control over the illegal drugs in question.
Possession charges are often paired with Intent to Deliver, which means that the defendant was going to distribute or sell the drug. Even if no money changed hands or no drugs were actually sold, the State can still bring this elevated charge which carries a more serious sentence upon conviction.
Prosecutors will try to present circumstantial evidence to prove this charge. Sometimes they attempt to demonstrate Intent to Deliver if there was suggestive drug paraphernalia also found at the scene, including baggies or balloons, cutting agents, or postal scales. But given that it is more difficult to prove what someone intended to do, there are often opportunities for an experienced criminal defense attorney to create doubt and get the charges dropped.
Possession with intent to deliver can carry a variety of penalties depending on the amount and type of illegal drugs in possession. With large amounts of drugs, the State can charge defendants with a Class X felony, which can carry a prison term of 6-30 years. Convictions for these more severe types of drug crimes are non-probationable.
Cocaine, whether in crack or powder form, is the most common drug involved in possession with intent to deliver cases, with methamphetamines and heroin coming in second.
If the State can prove that an actual delivery or sale of drugs took place, they can bring charges of Delivery of Illegal or Illicit Drugs. This charge is much more serious and hence could result in a longer prison sentence for defendants if they are convicted.
In the Illinois criminal court system, prosecutors bring charges against defendants, and those charges sometimes carry a mandatory minimum sentence. However, if you are a criminal defendant, you should know that there is always the opportunity to fight your case or plead the sentence down. The worst outcome does not have to become a reality. If you enlist the assistance of an aggressive DuPage County criminal defense attorney who has the knowledge and skill to effectively fight your case, you will have the best chance at walking away with the least harsh outcome.
When you sit down with a DuPage County criminal defense lawyer, he will take you through the details of your case and give you the chance to explain the circumstances of your arrest. Based on the circumstances, your lawyer and you will decide which defense strategy fits your situation best.
There are several defenses available to individuals charged with DuPage County drug possession, delivery, and intent to deliver. Some common strategies include:
Ideally, the State will drop your case before trial or pleading proceedings even begin. Our offices have assisted many drug defendants in getting their case dismissed at the preliminary hearing stage.
When the State charges a defendant with a drug-related offense, there must first be either a Grand Jury hearing or a Preliminary Hearing in order for the State to bring the charge.
Defense attorneys prefer the former. Preliminary Hearings are used to determine whether or not there was probable cause to charge the defendant with a criminal defense. A smart criminal defense attorney will use this opportunity to argue that there were no grounds to arrest the client in the first place. If the defense successfully demonstrates that the prosecution lacked probable cause, the court will dismiss the complaint and the case usually ends there.
There are various other defense strategies that can result in a Not Guilty verdict or charges being dropped. There is no one size fits all, though. The most important step you can take as a criminal defendant is to contact an experienced and aggressive DuPage County drug attorney immediately. If you are eligible to fight your case in drug court, your attorney can also help you apply to hear your case there.
One of the most important roles a criminal defense attorney has is to help clients preserve their liberty and avoid a lengthy prison sentence. In DuPage County and Illinois more broadly, the State's Attorney and partners have developed some alternatives to incarceration that are becoming more widely used. With drug cases specifically, rehabilitation and counseling programs are an alternative option to prison.
These options are available in some cases, depending on the severity of the charge and whether the defendant suffers from addiction:
DuPage County drug arrest cases can be complex. They require both a broad understanding of Illinois statutory drug law as well as a specific understanding of available sentencing options and legal resolutions in DuPage County. With DuPage County drug offenses, the stakes of conviction can be high. However, with effective legal counsel, you can avoid incarceration or even walk away without a stain on your criminal record. A criminal defense attorney will help you craft an effective strategy to avoid the most stringent of sentences.
The Law Office of Steven R. Hunter has extensive experience in defending all types of Illinois drug cases, from simple marijuana possession to complex trafficking charges. Contact us today at (312) 466-9466 to for a free legal consultation and learn about how we can assist you in your DuPage County criminal case.