Illinois may be a state where certain drug laws have been relaxed in recent years, but that doesn’t mean it’s a place where people can do what they want in regards to controlled substances.
In fact, Illinois has some very harsh drug trafficking laws that can send a person to prison for a very long time. That’s why, if you face drug trafficking charges in the state, you need an attorney to help you fight back.
Here is what you need to know about drug trafficking in the state and the defenses commonly used to fight these types of charges.
The Illinois Controlled Substances Act
If you want to understand drug trafficking in Illinois, then you first have to understand the laws, specifically the Controlled Substances Act.
This Act defines what will happen to someone who is trafficking in controlled substances and includes the types of penalties a person can face if they are found guilty. A controlled substance is divided into different categories, or schedules, that reflect if there is any accepted medical use for the drug and if it has a high probability of abuse.
This schedule is reserved for substances with no medical use and a high probability of addiction or abuse.
These substances have some medical use but still can lead to dependence on the drug.
These substances have accepted uses in the medical community and a moderate risk of abuse and dependence.
Schedule IV and Schedule V
Both of these schedules include substances that have a low or limited potential for abuse and dependence. They also have accepted medical uses.
What Is Drug Trafficking?
When you are accused of drug trafficking, it means that you have played a role in the distribution and manufacture of a controlled substance in an effort to give it to someone else – in other words, selling it to them. The specific substance involved and the amount you are found in possession of will inform the penalties that can be faced.
Defenses to Drug Trafficking Charges
While each case is different and the right defense largely depends on the circumstances of your specific case, there are some strategies commonly used by criminal defense attorneys in drug trafficking cases. Some of the most common include:
Evidence Wasn’t Obtained Legally
If the police didn’t have sufficient probable cause to search you or your property when the substances were found, then it’s possible to demonstrate this and have the evidence removed from consideration in the case. That’s why you need to make sure to communicate everything with your attorney so they can access if this is a workable defense or not.
Lack of Knowledge
If substances were found on your person or on your property, the state has to prove that you knew they were there. If you were unaware that the drugs were there, and you made no statements to police indicating you knew of them, then this may be a defense that can work in your case.
This is an affirmative defense, so it’s a bit risky, but it can work in certain situations. If you were persuaded to take part in the crime of drug trafficking by police or the government, provided an opportunity to commit this crime, and it’s not something you’d normally do, then entrapment can work as a defense.
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by Avvo (2013 and 2018), SuperLawyers (2015-2020), The National Trial Lawyers, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.