Dealing with a drug conviction can be highly complex. The Illinois drug laws classify cocaine as a Schedule 2 drug. Possession of cocaine, no matter how small the amount, results in a felony charge and harsh consequences.
The penalties for its possession can range from hefty fines to imprisonment. These charges can also lead to a permanent criminal record, negatively impacting your future.
Given the seriousness of the offense, consider seeking the advice of Chicago drug defense attorneys. They understand your legal rights under the different applicable laws.
At the Hirsch Law Group, we thoroughly know the applicable laws and strive to build a solid defense to protect your interests. We can give you legal representation and help you avoid or minimize the consequences of a drug conviction.
Cocaine possession in Chicago is broadly categorized as either actual or constructive possession.
Actual possession refers to a situation where the police find drugs on you during an arrest. The drugs, for instance, may be found in your pocket or hand.
Constructive possession is when drugs are found in a place under your authority or knowledge. For example, if the police find cocaine in your office or home to which only you have access. In such cases, although you may not physically possess drugs, you know of their existence and have access to their location.
Constructive possession is often more challenging to prove than actual possession, but it can still result in a conviction. The court will consider various factors, such as whether you had the intent to control the drug or if you were aware of its existence.
Illinois laws and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration categorize drugs into five categories (Schedules). Cocaine is a Schedule II drug. Drugs, substances, or chemicals classified as Schedule II have a high potential for abuse and may cause serious psychological or physical dependency if used. These substances are regarded as dangerous as well.
In Illinois, matters related to cocaine possession fall under section 720 ILCS 570/402 of the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. This Act lays down the provisions regarding unlawful possession of controlled substances. Violation of this Act is punishable by law.
Other possible charges associated with cocaine include the following:
Distribution and sale
Possession with intent
As noted above, possessing cocaine in any amount leads to a felony conviction. Such cocaine charges carry harsh penalties, including prison time and hefty fines. The severity of penalties, however, varies depending on the amount in possession. The higher the amount in your possession, the heavier the penalties.
Listed below are the potential consequences for cocaine possession in Chicago, Illinois:
Possession of less than 15 grams of cocaine is a Class 4 felony. It is punishable by fines of up to $25,000 and 1 to 3 years in prison.
Possession of 15 to 100 grams of cocaine is a Class 1 felony. It is punishable by fines of up to $200,000 and a mandatory prison sentence of 4 to 15 years.
Possession of 100 to 400 grams of cocaine is a Class 1 felony. It is punishable by a fine not exceeding $200,000 or the full street value of cocaine, whichever is greater. It also carries a mandatory prison sentence of between 6 and 30 years.
Possession of 400 to 900 grams of cocaine is a Class 1 felony. It is punishable by a fine not exceeding $200,000 or the full street value of cocaine, whichever is greater. It also carries a mandatory prison sentence of 8 to 40 years.
Possession of over 900 grams of cocaine is a Class 1 felony. It is punishable by a fine not exceeding $200,000 or the full street value of cocaine, whichever is greater, and a 10 to 50 years mandatory prison sentence.
The above penalties are for possession of cocaine. Selling and trafficking of cocaine can carry harsher penalties. For instance, the penalty for trafficking over 15 grams of cocaine is a felony. It is punishable by a fine of up to $500,000 or the total street value of the drug. It also carries a prison sentence of 6 to 60 years, depending on the weight of the drugs you are trafficking.
The presence of aggravating factors can also lead to harsher punishments. Listed below are some factors that could increase your penalties:
A drug offense involving the use of firearms
Discharging a firearm causing injury or death
If the offender has prior drug convictions
If the offense takes place near a school or bus stop
If you are facing cocaine possession charges, your defense lawyer can use several strategies to help you fight the case. Some common defenses include:
Lack of knowledge: Your lawyer can argue that you were not aware of the drugs in your possession, especially in cases of constructive possession.
Illegal search and seizure: The 4th Amendment protects citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement officers. If your lawyer can prove that your 4th Amendment rights were violated during the search, any evidence found may be deemed inadmissible in court.
False accusation: It’s possible that someone else planted the drugs in your possession or you were mistaken for someone else.
Crime lab analysis: Your lawyer can request a separate test of the substance believed to be cocaine to confirm its authenticity and weight. Mistakes in analyzing the drug can lead to reduced penalties or even case dismissal.
As with any criminal charge, seeking legal representation from experienced attorneys, such as the Hirsch Law Group, is essential. Our team of Chicago cocaine possession defense attorneys has a deep understanding of Illinois drug laws and can provide you with the best defense strategy for your case.
Cocaine drug charges are severe offenses in Chicago. Drug possession investigations may include arrests, searches, and seizures. Such investigative methods, like illegal searches and seizures, can be traumatic experiences for victims.
When facing such a situation, it may be crucial to seek the help of a criminal defense attorney. They can:
Collect evidence. An attorney can use evidence to prove investigative or procedural errors.
Analyze the evidence from the investigation to build a defense strategy. The prosecution will be required to prove the substance is cocaine by having a lab analyze it. In such cases, an attorney can demonstrate discrepancies in the findings and analysis of the lab.
Represent you in court proceedings.
Argue that the officers and investigative agencies violated your rights through unlawful search and seizures. For instance, they can show that you were a victim of entrapment and the cocaine was never yours, to begin with.
Negotiate a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution if you plead guilty.
Facing a charge concerning illegal narcotics or even prescription drug possession is a serious crime. However, you still have the right to fight the possession charge.
Criminal defense attorneys from the Hirsch Law Group are here to help. We can understand the facts of your case and review all evidence presented by the arresting officers. Our experienced attorneys can then find loopholes and build a strategic defense upon analyzing the evidence.
If you face controlled substance charges in Chicago, do not hesitate to seek legal help. At the Hirsch Law Group, we work hard to represent clients charged with drug crimes. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.