While many states have recently relaxed their marijuana laws and policies, Illinois has not. While the state enacted a pilot program for the use of medical marijuana in 2013, Illinois still imposes strict penalties on people who are found in possession of even small amounts of marijuana. In addition to legal consequences, a drug possession conviction on your criminal record could result in significant collateral consequences as well, including ineligibility for federal programs, the inability to obtain certain types of employment, damage to your reputation, and immigration issues, among others. Consequently, it is extremely important for anyone facing Illinois marijuana possession charges to discuss their case with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A defense lawyer can often help mitigate the consequences you may be facing and in some cases may be able to have the case against you completely
Consequences for Marijuana Possession in Illinois
The consequences that you can face for violating Illinois’ marijuana possession laws depend significantly on the amount of marijuana that you allegedly possessed. The information below includes the maximum penalties associated with the possession of certain amounts of marijuana:
- 2.5 grams or less – 30 days incarceration
- 2.5-10 grams – 6 months incarceration
- 10-30 grams (1st offense) – 1 year incarceration
- 10-30 grams (subsequent offense) – 1-3 years incarceration, $25,000 fine
- 30-500 grams (1st offense) – 1-3 years incarceration, $25,000 fine
- 30-500 grams (subsequent offense) – 2-5 years incarceration, $25,000 fine
- 500-2,000 grams – 2-5 years incarceration, $25,000 fine
- 2,000-5,000 grams – 3-7 years incarceration, $25,000 fine
- 5,000+ grams – 4-20 years incarceration, $25,000 fine
For any of the penalties associated with 10 or more grams of marijuana possession, the lower end of the incarceration period is a mandatory minimum sentence. As this information should make clear, there are significant penalties associated with the possession of marijuana, and anyone accused of violating Illinois marijuana laws should discuss their situation with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Potential Defenses in a Marijuana Possession Case
There are a variety of defenses that an attorney may be able to raise in a Chicago marijuana possession case. For example, if you were pulled over while driving or randomly approached by law enforcement as a pedestrian, an attorney may be able to challenge the reason for the initial stop. Additionally, as possession requires intent, an attorney may be able to argue that you were unaware that you possessed the marijuana of which you are accused of possessing, as would be the case if you borrowed a friend’s car or picked up the wrong briefcase or purse. The defense that would be most appropriate in your case depends largely on the facts of your case, and an attorney will be able to advise you as what defenses may be appropriate in your situation.
Contact a Chicago Marijuana Possession Defense Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
A marijuana possession conviction could result in extremely serious consequences. Call Goldman & Associates today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney.