Discuss Your Drug Charge With A Schaumburg Drug Charge Lawyer
The possession, manufacture, sale, distribution, or transportation of any substance recognized at a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS) is a criminal offense. Because there are so many substances on the federal government’s CDS list and so many ways to come into contact with one, there are many different acts that may be charged as drug crimes. There are also many different penalties an individual found guilty of a drug crime can face, from small fines to decades in prison, based on the nature of his or her offense, the substance involved, and the amount of the substance involved.
Because drug charges can be so complicated, it is important that you seek experienced legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as you can after you are charged with a drug-related offense.
Breaking Down Drug Charges
Controlled dangerous substances are classified into five categories known as schedules. Schedule I contains the most dangerous substances, like heroin and MDMA, that do not have any accepted medical use. Following this is Schedule II, III, IV, and V, which contains the substances with the lowest potential to be abused by their users. A drug’s schedule is determined by its accepted medical use, its potential to be abused by its users, and the safety guidelines or lack thereof for its use under medical supervision. In the criminal justice world, a drug’s schedule is a determining factor for the charges associated with its distribution and possession.
Charges for the sale or possession of certain substances with the intention to distribute them are Class X felonies. Other substances’ sale and possession with the intent to distribute are charged as other types of felony. Individuals found guilty of drug sales and distribution can face substantial fines and lengthy, decades-long prison sentences. In Illinois, there are mandatory minimum sentences in place for individuals convicted of certain drug crimes.
It is also important to note that one drug, cannabis, occupies a unique legal space. Though it is a Schedule I substance at the federal level, many states have decriminalized or even legalized its use. Others have special laws in place for charging offenders with marijuana-related offenses. In Illinois, the Cannabis Control Act outlines marijuana offenses and their penalties.
Defenses Against Drug Charges
If you have been charged with a drug-related offense, you can potentially have your charge lowered or dropped with the right legal strategy. A few defenses against drug charges include:
- The drugs were planted in your home or vehicle, perhaps through an act of entrapment by law enforcement;
- The drugs did not belong to you and you did not know they were in your home or vehicle
- A lack of evidence. If the prosecution does not have the drugs, how can it find you guilty of their possession or sale? And
- Your home or vehicle was unlawfully searched. If law enforcement did not have a warrant to search your property, they could not legally have conducted the search that produced the substance.
If you have never been charged with a criminal offense before, you could be eligible to participate in a pre-trial intervention program. Talk to your lawyer about this type of program to determine if you are eligible and if so, if it is an option worth pursuing. Through this type of program, criminal charges are dropped or lowered in exchange for the defendant completing an educational program. For a drug charge, you might be required to undergo a rehabilitation or drug education course.
Work with an Experienced Warrenville Criminal Defense Lawyer
A drug-related conviction can change your life forever. If you have been charged with a drug offense, contact Shannon O’Malley, Attorney at Law today to set up your initial legal consultation in our office. Mr. O’Malley is an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can answer your questions and determine an effective defense strategy for your case. Do not go to court without representation – work with a lawyer who can be your advocate and help you have your charge downgraded or dismissed.