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Examining Charges for Illegal Drug Possession in Illinois With the passing of Illinois’ new marijuana law, it is now legal for people to recreationally consume marijuana within the state. While the law may have changed the way in which law enforcement officials look at marijuana use, that is not the case with substances such as cocaine, heroin, and various schedule two drugs. If you have been charged with possession of illegal narcotics, you could be facing serious legal ramifications. 

The Legal Consequences

Thousands of drug arrests are made throughout the state of Illinois each year and come with significant criminal punishment. According to the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, possession of an illegal narcotic like heroin or cocaine constitutes a felony charge. The severity of the charges will vary based on the amount of the substance the person has in their possession. For instance, if a person is apprehended with less than 15 grams of cocaine, they will face Class 4 felony charges, fines up to $25,000 and one to three years in prison. If they have more than 15 grams in their possession, prosecutors may conclude that they were attempting to distribute and sell the narcotics. This charge constitutes a Class 1 felony and a mandatory four-year prison sentence. 

It should be noted that if an officer believes that the person is attempting to sell the substance, the charge will be more severe than a possession charge, regardless of the amount of the substance. If a person has the intent to sell, even with less than one gram of cocaine, they will face Class 2 felony charges and no less than three years in prison. Drug charges for other substances such as heroin and morphine mirror the charges that come with cocaine possession and distribution. 

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