If the recent drug crime events in Illinois are anything to go by, then there is no doubt at all that Illinois police are doing their job pretty well. From possession to trafficking, prosecutors and the police have clearly stepped up war on drugs. Public outcry and politics have caused a groundswell of several arrests and convictions for each and every type of drug crime.  As the availability of different illegal substances increase, so do the number of drug charges. A 2010 report by the Chicago Council of Lawyers and Appleseed Fund for Justice indicates that between 1997 and 2007, the overall drug arrest in Illinois rose by a staggering 6 percent.

Several types of drug charges are applicable in state and federal jurisdictions. It should however be noted that federal crimes generally involve large-scale operations or trafficking that may include other charges such as conspiracy, organized crime activities or racketeering. These crimes carry the most severe penalties. It should further be noted that drug trafficking may be prosecuted at the state level depending on factors such as the type of drug, the amount involved and the precise area where the trafficking occurs.

Just like state drug busts, federal drug busts involve inter agency collaboration that often include state and federal Drug Enforcement Agencies, the FBI and local police and sheriff ‘s departments. All these large-scale initiatives are highly organized for the purposes of curbing drug crimes in Illinois. If by any chance you suspect that you might be under investigation, it is imperative that you seek representation from an attorney as soon as you can. Ensure that your attorney is competent and experienced in drug crimes. You should also ensure that he or she has a solid track in criminal defense of federal drug crimes.

It is easy for anyone to think that being caught with just a small amount of marijuana or any other drug will lead to a fine or a slap on the wrist. While it is true that penalties including fines of up to $250,000 and imprisonment vary with the charge as well as the drug, states are in a form of fuzz with the federal government when it comes to subtle yet profound matters such as dolling out punishment for drug offenses. At the very least, an arrest for drug possession that shows up on one’s record could cost one a job or his/her professional license. Such penalties are of course the last thing one would dream of ever facing. In Illinois, drug crimes and their respective penalties include:

  • Marijuana possession- 15 years for 5,000 grams or more or 30 days for 2.5 grams or less.
  • Marijuana with intent to distribute- 15 years for 5,000 grams  or 30 days for 2.5 grams or less
  • Heroin or Cocaine possession- 30 years for possessing 400 grams.50 years or more for 900 grams. 1 to 3 years for a gram or less.15 years for 100 grams
  • Heroin or cocaine possession with intent to distribute- 60 years for 900 grams. Three to seven years for 1 gram or less. 15 years for 15 grams.