Drug-related charges are some of the most frequent charges brought in Kane County. We represent clients accused of all type of drug crimes, including possession of a controlled substance and drug trafficking. We offer free in-office consultations to individuals charged with drug-related crimes in Kane County. Call our firm at (312) 466-9466 to schedule a meeting with our Kane County drug crime attorneys.
The number of drug cases prosecuted annually has risen exponentially in recent decades across the country. Kane County is no exception.
In 2015, Illinois State Police logged nearly 2,500 drug arrests in Kane County. This figure does not include arrests made by municipal police offices, and so the actual number of Kane County drug arrests is actually much greater than that.
Sadly, the outcomes in these case often depend on whether a good Kane County drug lawyer is helping the defendant.If you or a loved one have been arrested for a drug crime in Kane County, please let us help. Getting started is easier than you think. Simply call our criminal defense lawyers at (312) 466-9466.
If you are facing any of the following charges, or any drug-related charge, we will represent you:
In some cases, we are hired by the defendant. In many other cases, the first person to call us is a mother or father worried about their child. The only people we can't help are the people who never make that first call to find a good attorney.
According to Illinois State Police, the majority of offenders in Kane County drug cases have been prosecuted under either the Cannabis Control Act or the Drug Paraphernalia Act.
These two acts are parts of the Illinois Criminal Code. The former makes illegal possession of cannabis with the intent to deliver a crime. The latter criminalizes knowingly possessing drug paraphernalia, such as a pipe to smoke marijuana or a needle to shoot heroin.
Like other states, the Illinois Criminal Code includes mandatory minimum sentences. A mandatory minimum requires a base-level prison sentence for certain criminal convictions, no matter what the circumstances of the crime were. One of the most infamous mandatory minimum laws in the United States was California's "three strikes" law, which sent defendants to prison for life after a third felony conviction.
Although Illinois drug sentencing law has never been as strong as that, some serious felony drug crimes do carry mandatory prison terms. Not all drug crimes are felonies -- a good portion are classified as misdemeanors, and it depends on where the defendant has been convicted for similar offenses before. However, a misdemeanor drug conviction can still carry heavy fines and the possibility of incarceration in the most extreme cases.
With mandatory minimums, it is important to remember that the power is in the prosecutors' hands. Mandatory minimums only kick in when the prosecutor has chosen to charge you with a certain classification of a crime. As criminal defense lawyers, we often work during pretrial proceedings to bargain the charges down in order to help our clients avoid extreme prison sentences.
Minor drug offenses are often 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.
The terminology used for drug charges can be confusing, especially for a first offense defendant. Let's take a look at the differences between each charge, as well as the potential consequences if the court finds you guilty.
Drug Possession Charges
Drug possession is the most basic drug charge in Illinois. Just like it sounds, this charge means that you are accused of having illegal drugs. This charge will also usually include a second clause which specifies the type of drug. Usually, the type of drug will affect the length or severity of a sentence.
You can think about drug possession in two ways: actual possession and constructive possession.
The former, actual possession, is straightforward: if you were arrested after the police found drugs on your person, the State will bring a charge of actual possession against you. These cases are harder to defend against. To earn a conviction, the State must prove that the defendant knowingly possessed drugs. If the police recovered drugs from your pockets or purse, it seems very unlikely that you did not know that the drugs were there.
In these cases, if the facts support the defense, our Kane County drug lawyers often makes a case of unreasonable search and seizure. Under the Bill of Rights, United States citizens are protected from being unlawfully searched by law enforcement. Over the years, courts have ruled on a variety of "search and seizure" cases, establishing a set of understood rules about when law enforcement is allowed to search you.
In drug cases, our Kane County criminal defense lawyers often make the case in court that the police did not have probable cause to search a defendant, and therefore the search was invalid. In that case, the charges are dropped.
Now let's talk about constructive possession.
Constructive possession is slightly different. If the police discover drugs in your car, home, or a space you frequent, you could be accused of constructive possession of drugs. The drugs are not found on you, but the police believe you are involved. Even if they found these drugs, however, the State will have to prove that you were aware and had control over the illegal drugs in question.
Intent to Deliver Charges
Frequently, the State attaches the charge of Intent to Deliver to a possession charge. Just like it sounds, this charge alleges that the defendant did not solely plan to use the drugs himself, but also intended to sell them or trade them with another person. It's important to note that a defendant doesn't actually have to sell drugs to be convicted of this charge. Even if no money changed hands and no drugs were actually sold, the State can still prove that a defendant was planning to deliver the illegal drugs.
To prove this charge, prosecutors usually present circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence relies on an inference to bring the judge or jury to a conclusion of fact. The classic example is that if one notices that a wet umbrella has been discarded by the door, one can conclude that it is raining outside.
Using circumstantial evidence, the prosecution may attempt to demonstrate Intent to Deliver if there by arguing that the defendant also possessed suggestive drug paraphernalia, such as baggies, postal scales, or balloons.
It is always more difficult to prove what someone intended to do versus what they did do. For this reason, there are often opportunities in these sorts of constructive possession cases for a criminal defense attorney to get the charges dropped or obtain a Not Guilty verdict.
Depending on the amount and type of illegal drugs, the charge of Possession with Intent to Deliver can carry a variety of penalties. In the most serious cases, the State can classify it as a Class X felony, which can carry a prison term of 6-30 years. In these cases, usually the amount of drugs is very large or the defendant has been convicted of similar crimes in the past. Convictions for these more severe types of drug crimes are non-probationable, which means that prison time is unavoidable.
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 next.
Drug Delivery Charges
The next level of charge is Delivery of Illegal or Illicit Drugs, which is brought when the State attempts to prove that a defendant did in fact sell illegal drugs. More serious than simple possession, this charge results in a longer prison sentence for defendants if they are convicted.
Winning a drug case is a complicated process. Every case is unique and thus warrants its own unique legal strategy. However, there are some common defenses used in drug cases. At the Law Offices of Steven R. Hunter, we often employ the strategies listed below in cases of drug possession, delivery, or intent to deliver.
When the State charges a defendant with a drug-related offense, either a Grand Jury hearing or a Preliminary Hearing will occur. In these hearing, the defendant is formally indicted or charged with the crime.
As defense attorneys, we prefer preliminary hearings. At a preliminary hearing, the court will decide whether or not there was probable cause to charge the defendant with the crime.
A smart Kane County criminal defense attorney will use this opportunity to argue that there were no grounds to arrest the defendant in the first place. If the defense successfully demonstrates that the prosecution lacked probable cause, the complaint is dismissed and the case usually ends there. In this way, the case stops before it can even start.
These aren't the only legal defense strategies that can be used to fight a drug case. When you sit down with a Kane County criminal defense lawyer, he will ask various questions about the facts of your case in order to get a full picture. Then, based on the circumstances, you and your lawyer will decide which defense strategy will be most effective for you when your day in court arrives.
The most important step you can take as a criminal defendant is contact an aggressive Kane County drug attorney immediately. Drug cases are complex and intimidating, but there is always the opportunity to fight your case or plead the sentence down. It is your right as a criminal defendant in the United States.
By hiring an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney who has the knowledge to expertly fight your case, you will have the best chance at walking away with the least harsh outcome.
In recent years, many circuit courts across the state of Illinois have established separate courts specifically for hearing drug cases. Kane County is no exception. Whether you are an adult or juvenile, you have the opportunity to transfer your case to Kane County Drug Court.
Cases decided in drug courts result in rehabilitative programming instead of prison time. They are part of a larger project to create alternatives to incarceration and ameliorate the growing issue of drug addiction in Illinois.
For more information about Kane County Drug Court, and to find out whether you may be eligible to transfer your case, visit our Kane County Drug Court page.
Kane County drug arrests can be complicated. To fight your case effectively, you need a lawyer who understands the ins and outs of Illinois drug law, as well as the specifics of sentencing options in Kane County.
The stakes of drug convictions can be high in Kane County. But with an effective legal defense, it is possible to avoid jailtime or even have charges dropped against you. A criminal defense attorney will help you pursue a legal strategy that is most likely to result in a favorable outcome.
From simple marijuana possession to complex trafficking charges, we have years of experience fighting all types of Illinois drug cases. Give our offices a call at (312) 466-9466 today to schedule a free legal consultation and learn about how we can advocate for you in your Kane County criminal case.