Chicago Possession of Marijuana Defense Lawyer

Marijuana Possession Penalties

In Illinois, it is considered a felony offense to possess any illicit controlled substance, such as opiates, cocaine, methamphetamine, regardless of the amount. Even a miniscule amount of any of these scheduled controlled substances, if possessed, will result in felony charges. The only exception to that is Cannabis, also known as Marijuana. In the past, the law in Chicago and across Illinois has been to set out various misdemeanor penalties for the simple possession of certain amounts of the drug, but recently, those laws became more lenient.

New Laws Decriminalize Weed Possession

Under the new law, the possession of an amount 10 grams or less of cannabis is a civil law violation, punishable by a fine of no less than $100.00, nor more than $200.00. Basically, this penalty is less severe than what one might ordinarily face for a routine traffic ticket, such as disobeying a traffic control device, or speeding. Under this cannabis law, you will be issued a citation that looks like a traffic ticket, and it will have information on how you can either pay, or request a hearing. If you request such a hearing, unlike in a criminal case, evidence of the drug may be presented by either a "properly administered field test" (which is a non-confirmatory ‘preliminary’ screen only), or by the opinion testimony of a peace officer based upon the officer’s training and experience as qualified by the court.

Under the new law, it is now a Class B misdemeanor to possess an amount of cannabis of more than 10, but not more than 30 grams (28.6 grams is equal to one ounce). A Class B misdemeanor is punishable by a sentence of no more than 6 months in jail or a fine of up to $1,500.00, or both, as well as probation, conditional discharge, or court supervision. It is now a Class A misdemeanor to possess more than 30 grams but not more than 100 grams (this used to be a Class 4 felony).That crime carries with a maximum of 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.00, as well as the same alternative sentences, including supervision.

Misdemeanor and Felony Penalties for Marijuana

In circumstances however where the weight of the cannabis exceeds 100 grams, the penalties increase into what are known as felonies. Over 100 grams up to 500 grams is a Class 4 felony punishable by 1 to 3 years in the penitentiary. The higher the weight, the higher the penalties climb. All these penalties are contained in what is called the Cannabis Control Act of the Illinois Compiled Statutes.

But it's not only the weight of the cannabis that determines the penalties when charged in Chicago or any other Illinois city. Penalties become higher and higher still when it is alleged that the defendant possessed the drug with the intention to manufacture or deliver (meaning to sell) the drug to another person. Some of the other circumstances under which penalties are enhanced include selling cannabis on or near school grounds, bringing cannabis into the state with the intent to sell it (called trafficking), delivering the drug to a person under the age of 18, growing cannabis sativa plants, or taking part in what is called a "calculated criminal cannabis conspiracy".

New Laws Relating to Driving Under the Influence

In conjunction with recent changes to the Cannabis Control Act decriminalizing 10 grams or less of the drug, the legislature was also forced to come to terms with the enforcement problems of drivers who are pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis. In the past, any amount of cannabis at all detected in the driver’s blood or urine was sufficient to convict a driver of this traffic offense. But under new laws enacted, a certain concentration limit (measureable in nanograms) of Tetrahydrocannabinol was established. So no longer is it a guaranteed conviction if a driver has cannabis detected in his or her system while driving.

Contact a Knowledgeable Chicago Marijuana Possession Attorney Today

Regardless of the level of crime, an arrest for cannabis is serious and may have wide-ranging consequences for your future. The Chicago drug crime lawyers of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC are experienced criminal advocates, many of whom are former assistant state's attorneys and prosecutors. Our lawyers will carefully explore whether motions can be filed to dismiss the charges or to win at a trial. But in circumstances where a motion or trial is not advised, our lawyers can also try to negotiate a deal that prevents the charge from permanently appearing on your criminal record (rap sheet). Depending on the particular cannabis charge, a non-conviction sentence such as supervision, a deferred prosecution or a special probation may be available to help protect your future. Call today at (800) 996-4824 for free information and to see how we can help you.

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