While it may be true that marijuana has received approval recreationally and medically in Illinois in the last few years, there are still many drugs in the state that remain illegal. Methamphetamines, ecstasy, heroin, and LSD, among others, are illegal. Being caught with them can land you in legal hot water.
However, it’s not simply the drugs that can get you in trouble. The drug paraphernalia can result in criminal charges as well. If you are charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and found guilty, then you can face some serious consequences.
Here is what you need to know about drug paraphernalia possession in Illinois and the consequences that can be faced if you are convicted of this charge.
Drug Paraphernalia: What Is It?
Under Illinois law, called the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act, it against the law to possess any equipment or materials employed to use, package, produce, process, store, test, or hide illegal drugs. Under this law, these are the types of items that are illegal to have in your possession:
- Carburetion tubes
- Items used to dilute drugs
It’s important to understand: Any item used for illegal purposes related to drugs, such as scales, can be considered drug paraphernalia under the law, in the right circumstances. It is not just limited to the items listed above, but those do give you some understanding of the items that are considered illegal as drug paraphernalia.
The Consequences of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
In Illinois, possession of drug paraphernalia is considered a Class A misdemeanor. The penalties for this include up to 12 months in jail and fines of up to $2500. It is also a charge that goes on your criminal record. This creates a criminal history that can impact your future.
In some situations, possession of drug paraphernalia can be charged as a felony – specifically if the offender was selling drugs, and they used the paraphernalia to do so. A Class 4 felony can land you in prison for up to three years and make you responsible for fines of as much as $25,000.
If the charge involves selling to someone under age 18, then it is elevated to a Class 3 felony. This more serious charge can land you in prison for up to five years, and it includes fines of as much as $25,000.
Finally, selling paraphernalia to a woman who is pregnant is a Class 2 felony, which can result in up to seven years behind bars and make you responsible for fines of as much as $25,000.
What About Headshops?
You may have seen drug paraphernalia in certain Illinois retail stores called “Headshops”, and they seem to have legal sales operation. You may be wondering how they pull this off. That’s a good question.
The answer: There is a legal loophole that allows the products to be sold if they are only advertised for tobacco product usage. Also, if you possess syringes for the purpose of giving yourself medications, such as insulin for diabetes, then it is also within the law to possess.
Drug paraphernalia may seem like an innocent thing to have or to sell to others, but, as you can see, it can put you in serious legal jeopardy. It’s in your best interest to engage an experienced attorney in your case if you ever find yourself facing these charges, because they can carry serious consequences.
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.