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When Can Drug Possession Lead to Felony Charges in Illinois?

 Posted on January 15, 2024 in Uncategorized

Will County Criminal Defense AttorneyDrug possession is a serious offense that can have long-lasting consequences. In the state of Illinois, drug possession charges can range from misdemeanors to felonies. There are various factors that can affect the severity of drug charges, such as the type and amount of drugs involved, the intent to sell or distribute drugs to others, and a person’s prior criminal record. If you have been arrested for drug possession, an experienced attorney can provide you with legal representation and help you understand your options for defense.

Misdemeanor vs. Felony

In Illinois, drug possession offenses are typically classified as felonies, although there are certain situations where misdemeanor charges may apply. Misdemeanors are less serious crimes and generally carry lighter penalties than felonies. Felonies, on the other hand, are more severe offenses with consequences that include prison sentences of one year or more and fines of up to $25,000.

The distinction between misdemeanor and felony drug possession charges depends on several factors:

  • Type of drug: Certain drugs are considered more dangerous or harmful than others by law enforcement agencies. Possessing larger quantities of these drugs is more likely to result in more serious felony charges. While Illinois has legalized marijuana for recreational and medical use, possession of large amounts of this drug could lead to criminal charges. Misdemeanor charges may apply for possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana, and possession of more than 100 grams will be considered a felony. Possession of most other types of controlled substances, such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, or LSD, will usually result in felony charges.

  • Amount/quantity: The quantity of drugs found in a person's possession will play a significant role in determining the severity of the charges a person will face. Larger amounts suggest an intent to distribute or sell substances rather than personal use alone. While felony charges will apply for possession of many controlled substances, the sentences will increase significantly when a person is accused of possessing large amounts of drugs.

  • Prior Convictions: Previous convictions for drug-related offenses can elevate a charge from misdemeanor to felony status, or more serious felony charges may apply. Repeat offenders will be likely to face harsher penalties, including longer prison sentences and higher fines.

Felony Drug Possession Charges

In Illinois, there are several situations where drug possession may lead to felony charges, including:

  • Possession of certain controlled substances: Possessing specific controlled substances such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, or LSD, even in small amounts, will typically result in felony charges due to their high potential for abuse and harm. In general, possession of at least 15 grams of these substances will result in Class 1 felony charges. In these cases, sentences may range from four to 15 years, and possession of larger amounts will lead to longer sentences.

  • Possession with intent to distribute: If authorities believe that a person intended to sell or distribute drugs due to evidence such as packaging materials, scales used for weighing substances, or large quantities of substances, more serious felony charges will apply. Possession of at least 15 grams of drugs such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine with the intent to distribute will usually be charged as a Class X felony. Sentences for these offenses may range from six to 30 years, with longer sentences applying in cases involving larger amounts of drugs.

  • School zone offense: Drug possession with intent to distribute within 500 feet of school grounds will typically result in Class X felony charges. The purpose behind this law is to protect children from drug-related activities.

Contact a Joliet Drug Possession Defense Lawyer

If you have been arrested for drug possession and are facing felony charges in Illinois, an experienced lawyer can provide you with legal help and advise you of your options for defending against a conviction. At Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., our Will County drug crimes defense attorney will work to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the legal process while building a strong defense on your behalf. We can analyze the details of your case, challenge evidence or witness testimony against you, help you determine whether you may be able to receive probation while participating in drug treatment, and do everything possible to ensure that you will be able to avoid a conviction. Contact us today at 815-740-4025 to schedule a free consultation.



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