Drug possession charges are typically not as serious as other drug-related charges, but having a conviction on your record could lead to higher penalties and complications in the future.
The penalties for having controlled substances on your person range from minor misdemeanors and fines to years of jail time. If you have been charged with drug possession in the state of Illinois, you have options for defending yourself and leaving the courtroom without having to face jail time or fines.
The following defense strategies are common ways of fighting drug possession charges. If any of these apply to your specific case, talk to an experienced Illinois defense lawyer.
The laws surrounding sentencing for marijuana and other drugs are changing throughout the country. Illinois is following the trend and recently legalized medical marijuana. Qualified patients are allowed to have two and a half ounces of cannabis every 14 days.
If you are caught with marijuana that was prescribed to you by a doctor in Illinois, you should not be convicted of a crime.
Evidence Was Found Through Illegal Search and Seizure
If there is no evidence against you, you will have a better chance at walking away without a conviction. Obvious, right? So, you should do whatever you can to eliminate any evidence that was obtained illegally.
Talk to your lawyer about how the drugs were obtained, whether law enforcement had a warrant, and whether or not you consented to the search. If law enforcement officers violated the Fourth Amendment while searching your person or property for drugs, the drugs may be removed from evidence.
Drugs Were Planted
Pointing the blame back to law enforcement is a risky move, but if officers did in fact plant drugs on your person or property while conducting a search and you have evidence of this, you have a strong defense strategy.
There have been recent cases of police planting drugs and being caught by body cameras or other surveillance footage. If this was the case in your arrest, talk to your lawyer about how to access body camera footage.
Evidence Is Not Actually Drugs
White powder can be cocaine, sugar, or any number of other substances. Pills can be ecstasy or prescription medication. If the evidence in question is not the drugs you are accused of holding, ask the court to put the evidence through a lab analysis. The results may lead to dropped charges.
Entrapment is a term that applies to many different types of crimes, from drug possession to prostitution. It occurs when law enforcement coerces someone into committing a crime.
Drug addiction can be a vicious cycle that sends low-level offenders back to prison. If you have a problem with drug or alcohol addiction, you may be able to break the cycle by advocating for rehabilitation over jail time.
While you are waiting for your court date, talk to your lawyer about pursuing options for rehabilitation and other strategies to stay off drugs permanently.
Your Best Defense Strategy Is a Knowledgeable Illinois Defense Attorney
Not all defense strategies will apply to your case, and the key to walking away free may not be the most obvious strategy. The best way to ensure that you are building the most effective defense strategy is to reach out to a defense attorney who has experience winning drug possession cases. A good Illinois criminal lawyer can help you choose the best strategy and use their knowledge of Illinois law to argue in your favor.
Reach out to a defense attorney today for a free consultation about your case.
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 SuperLawyers, the National Trial Lawyers Association, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.