What are the elements of a drug possession charge?

If you are facing drug possession charges, the prosecutor on your case likely wants to get a conviction. In order to do so, he or she is legally required to prove the elements of the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt.

Most drug crimes either involve drug possession for personal use or drug possession with the intent to distribute. Generally, an intent to distribute conviction will result in more serious consequences, as most states are more focused on putting a stop to drug dealing.

To prove drug possession, the prosecutor on your case will have to establish that you knew the drug in question was a controlled substance and that you knowingly had the drug in your possession. However, the prosecutor does not need to establish that you had the drugs on you at the time of the arrest. Having access to an illegal substance, even if it was not on you, may be enough. If you can prove that you had no knowledge that the substance was a drug or that you did not know the drug was in your possession, you may be able to defend against these charges.

In order to prove drug possession with the intent to distribute, the prosecutor will have to go the extra mile to show evidence that indicates plans to sell. This evidence may include digital scales, large quantities of drugs, piles of cash (typically small bills) and baggies.

In addition to possession of the drug itself, you could also be charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. The prosecutor will have to establish that the primary use of the item was to manufacture, ingest, or prepare an illegal substance. For example, it could be argued that having a water pipe is not enough to prove that it was going to be used for drug use. However, if the pipe had drug residue, that may be enough to prove that its primary purpose was drug-related.

Drug possession is a serious crime, but there are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Illinois that can help. Your attorney will fight for your rights in court and defend you against the charges you face.