Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Defending Clients against Drug Crimes Charges
Drug crimes refer to any possession, use, distribution or manufacturing of any sort of illegal substance. This includes all offenses involving marijuana, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, prescription drugs and many other substances. Drug conviction can happen to anyone, no matter their profession or social class. Conviction in drug crimes could leave you facing a number of penalties including hefty fines, probation and even prison time depending on the drug and the amount in question.
Possession of cannabis and other drugs such as heroin, meth, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, ketamine, morphine, oxycontin and other prescription pills is a criminal offense in the state of Illinois. Despite the constant efforts of states and lawmakers to legalize cannabis, the efforts always fall short, including places such as Illinois. Despite the notion that the drug is harmless, and should not be a major issue, being arrested and convicted of possession of cannabis can severely impact an individual’s future. More importantly, charges stemming from possession, sales, distribution or trafficking of drugs such as heroin, meth, cocaine and prescription drugs (unauthorized medications) and large amounts of marijuana are felonies. As such, they are far more severe, and penalties can include high fines and imprisonment of a year or more.
Chicago Drug Crimes Lawyer Defending Against Drug Crime Charges in Illinois
The punitive damages associated with drug crimes vary substantially and convictions for these types of crimes can have consequences that can permanently damage an individual’s life. This is why it is vital to hire an experienced attorney like Sami Azhari to defend you so you can remain with your reputation intact.
Nature of the Offense
Different drugs have different punishments, charges and sentencing guidelines. The type of drug, as well as the weight, can dictate the classification of the offense (i.e. whether the case is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony). The weight can also lead the arresting officers and prosecutors to determine whether the offense will be charged as a simple possession case, or as a possession with intent to manufacture/deliver. Also, the facts surrounding the arrest can be considered for an enhancement to a felony such as whether the drugs were within a certain distance of a school or nursing home, and whether drugs were sold.
For all drugs other than cannabis, possession of any amount is a felony. Examples:
- For cocaine and heroin, possession of anything less than 15 grams is a class 4 felony. Anything more is a class 1 felony.
- Methamphetamine is either a class 3, 2, 1, or X felony.
For manufacturing and delivery, the sentences are enhanced: Examples:
- For cocaine and heroin, the charges will be a class 2, 1, or X felony.
- Methamphetamine will be a class 2, 1, or X felony.
As you can see from the sentencing guidelines above, a simple sale transaction can lead to drastic consequences. Possessing 14 grams of cocaine will be a class 4 felony punishable by 1-3 years in prison. However possessing 16 grams of cocaine jumps suddenly to a class 1 felony punishable by 4-15 years in prison. The sentences are disproportionate to these crimes.
Seriousness of Crimes When Compared with Other Offenses
To display the seriousness of the sentencing guidelines for drug offenses, compare the sentencing ranges to other crimes with the same penalties. Click here for a comprehensive list of penalties associated with drug crimes.
- Class X felony – You can get charged with a class X felony by selling 15 grams of cocaine or heroin which results in 6 to 30 years in prison. This is the same penalty as aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault of a child, armed robbery, and attempted murder.
- Class 1 felony – If you sell anywhere between 5 to 15 grams of cocaine or 3 to 15 grams of heroin. It comes with 4 to 15 years in prison, as does criminal sexual assault, residential burglary, and robbery.
- Class 2 felony – Selling under a gram of cocaine or heroin, which is punishable by 3-7 years in prison. The same sentence applies to aggravated criminal sexual abuse, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and burglary.
Marijuana Possession in Chicago
The number of arrests for possession of cannabis in Chicago made it necessary for the court system to provide alternatives to jail. Cook County courts offer a deferred prosecution to drug offenders, called Drug School. The program is run by the Cook County State’s Attorney and requires 10 to 20 hours of drug education. The Drug School Act was written specifically for the Cook County State’s Attorney because of the high volume of cases. The Act states that incarceration of nonviolent drug offenders with families breaks the family unit and that they are in need of alternatives to incarceration such as counseling or treatment. If the defendant completes Drug School, the case will be dismissed. The record of arrest and the case number can also be expunged at a later date. However, this lenient alternative is not automatic and is only available when the prosecution agrees to it.
Free Consultation with a Chicago Drug Lawyer
Sami prides himself on keeping his clients out of jail and keeping their records clean in the face of drug possession and all other types of criminal charges. A criminal record can seriously damage your ability to do what you want in life, from going to a certain school, to obtaining the employment of your choice. You don’t have to let the prosecution take your future away. Sami will protect your rights and always has your best interests in mind.
Contact Sami today to discuss your drug crimes case and learn more about what he can do to help you. If you would like to reach Sami quickly and directly, please call his cell phone 24/7 at (312) 626-2871 or (847) 255-2100. The consultation is free. For your convenience, weekend appointments are available.