Drug-related crimes are no laughing matter. The potential consequences can hurt you and your family for the foreseeable future. If you are facing a drug charge, the steps you take before and during your criminal trial are really going to matter.
Possession is probably the most commonly issued drug charge in the state of Illinois. To some, it may not seem like a big deal, but even a minor possession charge — if prosecutors achieve conviction — can result in you spending time in jail. So, what exactly is drug possession? What charges tend to accompany a possessions charge? Finally, how can you fight a possessions charge?
Drug possession defined
If an officer claims to have found drugs on your person or in your general vicinity — such as in the car in which you are riding or in the residence at which you are located — you may be charged with drug possession. In the state of Illinois, there are two different types of possession charges possible. These are:
- Simple possession: Carrying a small amount of a drug for your own personal use
- Possession with intent to distribute: Carrying a larger amount of a drug with the intent to sell
Depending on the type of drug and amount in you possession, the charges against you may be at the state or federal level.
Those accused of drug possession are often accused of having drug paraphernalia as well. This is the most common charge to accompany a possession charge. Examples of drug paraphernalia include:
- Rolling papers
So, drug paraphernalia is anything that someone can use to make, package or manufacture drugs.
Consequences and defenses
The consequences associated with drug possession charges vary greatly depending on drug type, intent and amount in possession. Penalties include imprisonment and fines. Length of incarceration can be as little as a year, or it can last a lifetime. Fines range from $1,500 to $200,000.
If you find yourself facing possession charges, you do have the right to defend yourself. Depending on the details of your case, there may be a number of defense options open to you — such as lack of knowledge, entrapment, prescription medication or duress, among others.
At the end of the day, Illinois residents charged with drug possession may find fighting their cases difficult. However, with assistance, it is possible to seek a favorable outcome, whether that is achieving a case dismissal or obtaining a charge reduction, which, in turn, will minimize any associated consequences.