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Chicago Drug Crime Defense Lawyers

Drug Offenses

Drug crimes in Illinois may involve a wide variety of circumstances, including possession, sale, manufacture, trafficking, dealing, distribution, contributing to a drug-induced homicide, or merely being under the influence in public. Depending on the type of drug involved and the quantity of the drug (which might be measured either by weight or number of pills, etc), the penalties for drug crimes may be anything from a small $50 fine to a life sentence in prison. In addition to such penalties, additional consequences of certain drug violations may, among other possibilities, result in the mandatory removal of a non-citizen from the United States, forfeiture to the State of homes, real estate, vehicles and other¬ personal property, or the inability to obtain student loans, subsidized housing, or employment.

As a general rule, those drugs with a greater likelihood of addiction and those cases that involve higher quantities will usually result in more severe penalties. An experienced drug defense attorney can help you determine how serious your particular case is and the best way to protect your interests.

Controlled Substances

In Illinois, a controlled substance may be one of a great many different substances or drugs. Cannabis and alcohol are regulated by different criminal statutes and regulations - so they are not covered under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act. The category of controlled substance includes those drugs that people commonly associate with this law such as cocaine, heroin, crack, PCP, methamphetamine, hallucinogens, LSD, mushrooms, amphetamines, narcotics, opium, speed, ecstasy, GHB, etc., but it also includes many less-commonly-considered substances such as anabolic steroids, as well as many legally manufactured drugs such as codeine, ephedrine, dietary supplements, hydrocodone, and anti-depressants. Although these types of drugs are perfectly legal to possess and use when prescribed by a doctor, they become illegal when sold on the secondary market or obtained through other means.

The Illinois statute that regulates controlled substances is one of the longest and most complex statutes in Chicago and the State of Illinois. Depending on the particular drug involved, punishments and sentences may range from those that do not involve any jail or permanent mark on your criminal record to those with long mandatory prison terms and huge fines.

All of these various substances are found in Illinois’ Schedule of Controlled Substances, which follows the Federal Schedule closely. There are five enumerated schedules of controlled substances. Schedule I drugs are made up of those substances that have a high potential for abuse and have no currently accepted medical use for treatment in the United States or are deemed unsafe for treatment under medical supervision. At the other end of the spectrum are Schedule V substances, which are defined as having a low potential for abuse, are currently accepted for use in treatment in the United States, with abuse of this type possibly leading to limited dependence (physical or psychological), or the substance is a "targeted methamphetamine precursor" (such as pseudoephedrine).


As for cannabis (marijuana), the laws are written so that it is treated separately from the other scheduled controlled substances, largely because of recent changes in public opinion and in the medical and scientific communities regarding the dangerousness of the drug. Once upon a time, cannabis was regarded to be as serious as heroin, whereas today it is regarded as a much less serious substance.


Conversely, methamphetamine was given a separate designation for law enforcement purposes, again because of the increasing evidence of the truly dangerous and nefarious nature of the substance. The laws regarding these substances can be found under the Cannabis Control Act and the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, respectively.

Drug Manufacture and Sale

Whether the substance is listed within the Controlled Substances Act, the Cannabis Control Act, or the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, laws in Chicago and across Illinois punish more severely those who manufacture, distribute, or possess drugs with the intent to distribute versus those who merely possess them for their own use. These laws are all written to render harsher punishments upon those trafficking in the substances, and those who distribute them to children, or near schools, churches, day care centers, or other protected places.

Counterfeit Drugs

In addition to actual drugs and substances that produce a "high," or other drug-like symptoms, you may be surprised to know that the Controlled Substances Act also criminalizes the possession, manufacture, and sale of counterfeit substances and look-alike drugs that produce no "high" but are intended to fool users and purchasers of drugs. Some of these fake drugs are even more dangerous than the actual drug, as they are often manufactured with poisonous substances that can lead to death.

The law generally punishes the mere possession of these “look-alike” drugs as a petty offense, punishable by a fine only for the first such offense; whereas the manufacture, distribution, advertisement or possession with intent to distribute look-alike substances is generally a Class 3 felony, punishable by two to five years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

Medical Regulation of Drugs

The Controlled Substances Act also regulates doctors, nurses, hospitals, and virtually every person that might ever come into contact with a "controlled substance" from the time that it's manufactured to the final end-user that possesses the substance. The laws regulate who may handle the substances, who may prescribe them, the forms to be used for prescriptions, who may distribute them, what substances may be possessed for research purposes, and who may do that research.

Suffice it to say that it is not a defense for a layperson, who is not a licensed medical professional or pharmacist, to say that he or she had the drugs for “experimental purposes.”

Chicago Drug Crime Attorneys Fighting Your Drug Charge

It takes an experienced Chicago defense attorney to provide successful legal representation to someone who has been charged under one of the many Illinois drug laws. The lawyers associated with Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC are all experienced and knowledgeable attorneys who know that such cases can affect our clients’ futures and lives forever.

There are a number of strategies that we can employ in the defense of these types of cases. Perhaps the police acted without a valid search or arrest warrant. Perhaps they acted without sufficient probable cause to search the premises, and illegally seized the alleged substances or other evidence. Such improperly seized evidence may be subject to suppression from use as evidence at a trial. Also, the State must prove each and every element of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt; even where the physical evidence is admitted, it may still not be sufficient to prove knowledge, intent, or control of the items.

At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates, our lawyers will work diligently and tirelessly to achieve the best results possible in the defense of our clients. Whether your case requires a trial or you request us to take part in a plea negotiation or work towards a deferred prosecution, we will help guide you on your best path to success. Call us today at (800) 996-4824 to learn why over 20,000 previous clients have chosen our legal team to help protect their future.

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