We represent clients accused of any type of drug crime, from minor marijuana possession to felony drug trafficking. Our McHenry County drug lawyers have a solid track record of beating drug charges, leveraging our years of experience battling these types of cases. If you or your loved one has been accused of a drug offense, call our offices today at (312) 466-9466 to talk to a McHenry County criminal defense attorney.
Facing drug-related charges in McHenry County? We think we are the best criminal attorney for drugs in the Chicago area, and we'd simply ask that you call us to hear why.
Whether your case involves drug conspiracy, possession of drugs, drug paraphernalia, drug delivery or any drug charge that McHenry County is accusing you of, we can explain your options.
The hope of course is that the case ends with charges dismissed, no jail time, lenient sentencing, a not guilty verdict achieved by going to trial, drug school, reduced charges, or another positive outcome, relative to what you might otherwise get.
According to Illinois State Police, authorities made 1,850 drug arrests in McHenry County in 2015. This rather high figure shouldn't be surprising -- drug crimes are some of the most frequently prosecuted in the state of Illinois and across the country. In recent decades, the State has cracked down on drug use and trafficking, passing multiple laws that require mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses. These laws are enforced strictly - roughly a quarter of inmates in Illinois prisons are there for a drug-related conviction.
In McHenry County, the majority of individuals accused of drug offenses are charged under the Drug Paraphernalia Act (720 ILCS 600). This law criminalizes the act of knowingly possessing drug paraphernalia, such as a syringe to shoot heroin or a marijuana pipe. To be arrested, you don't need to have actual drugs on you -- just the tools necessary. However, defendants are often charged with two offenses, possessing drug paraphernalia and possessing drugs themselves.
The second greatest number of offenses in 2015 fell under the Cannabis Control Act (720 ILCS 550/1). Unlike other states, Illinois continues to criminalize marijuana. Other states have passed laws decriminalizing the substance, which means that it is still unlawful to possess it, but a defendant cannot be sentenced to jail or prison for doing so. Illinois defendants can face imprisonment if they are found guilty of this crime.
Whether a drug possession is classified as a misdemeanor or felony depends on a host of factors, including the defendant's criminal history, the amount of drugs in question, and the type of drug. A good portion of drug crimes are classified as misdemeanors, but even a conviction of this sort can carry heavy fines and the possibility of probation or minor jail time.
We have represented defendants facing all types of drug charges. If you have been charged with any of the following, or of any drug-related offense, we will defend you.
Some of these charges sound similar. In the next portion, we will enumerate the differences between each charge, as well as the potential consequences if the court finds you guilty.
Drug possession is probably the most commonly heard of drug offense. Just like it sounds, this charge means that you are accused of having illegal drugs. As discussed above, possession of marijuana is criminalized under the Cannabis Control Act. All illegal drugs besides marijuana are referred to as "controlled substances" and are prosecuted under a different section of the Illinois Criminal Code (720 ILCS 570/402). The list of illegal drugs includes Heroin, Cocaine, Morphine, Peyote, Barbituric Acid, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, LSD, and PCP.
In the most clear-cut cases, the police search a person and find drugs in their pockets or in a purse. These are common grounds for possession charges. These cases are difficult to defend against. To be convicted, the defendant must have known that he possessed drugs -- and if drugs are found on someone's person, it is very unlikely they did not know the drugs were there.
In other cases, the State's attorney may bring charges of possession if police recover drugs from someone's home or car. This type of case is often referred to as "constructive possession," making the argument that because drugs were recovered in the defendant's space, the State can construct an argument that he knowingly possessed those drugs. However, the prosecutors still have to prove that the defendant was aware of and had control over the illegal drugs in question.
Accusations of drug possession may also be paired with the charge of Intent to Deliver. In these cases, the State believes that the defendants not only planned to use the illegal drugs himself, but also planned to sell or distribute them to others. You can be convicted of this crime even if you never actually sold the drugs -- all the State has to do is prove that you were intending to sell them. Intent is hard to prove definitively. To do so, the prosecutors may point to the presence of suggestive drug paraphernalia, such as baggies, postal scales, or balloons. They may also argue that the amount of drugs was too large to be for personal use alone. These arguments can be shaky, and with an effective criminal defense, the charge can be beat.
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. This charge is viewed more seriously in the eyes of Illinois law and thus carries harsher penalties when it comes to sentencing.
In Illinois, felonies and misdemeanors are divided into "classes." Misdemeanors range from Class A, carrying the most severe penalties, to Class C, the most minor. Felonies are categorized into Class 4, Class 3, Class 2, Class 1, and Class X -- the most serious criminal charge possible. Each of these classes corresponds to a certain set of penalties, which could include fines, court supervision, probation, or imprisonment. It should be noted that even within a certain class of felony or misdemeanor, penalties can vary.
Drug sentencing is complex. It depends on the type and amount of drug, as well as the defendant's criminal history. Below is rough outline of drug possession sentencing classifications. Any amount of a controlled substance not listed here is classified as a Class 4 felony.
All heroin possession is considered a Class 1 felony with various recommended prison terms and fines.
Like heroin, cocaine possession is a Class 1 felony.
Pentazocine, Ketamine, Methaqualone, or PCP
Drug cases are complex, especially when it comes to sentencing. However, an accusation does not have to result in a conviction. In the American justice system, the prosecutors must prove a defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. As a defendant, you have the right to contest charges lodged against you with the help of a criminal defense lawyer. To learn more about drug case legal defense strategies, visit our page Winning a McHenry County Drug Case.
To beat drug charges, you need a lawyer who is specialized in criminal defense. At our firm, we have 30 years under our belt successfully defending Illinois residents accused of breaking the law. 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 McHenry County criminal case.