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What Are the Penalties for Drug Possession With Intent to Sell?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Joliet drug defense lawyerCriminal charges can take many forms based on the severity of the offense. Recent legislation made recreational marijuana use legal for those over the age of 21 in Illinois. However, most other controlled substances are illegal, and they can carry stiff punishments for those who commit a drug crime. Although the United States has been fighting the war on drugs for a long time, these types of offenses continue across the country. According to crime statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), there were 1.6 million arrests made for drug crimes in 2018, a number that has increased every year since 2015, after declining in the prior decade. If you or someone you know is facing any type of drug charges, it can ruin your personal and professional life. Therefore, it is imperative that you hire a criminal defense attorney who is well-versed in Illinois drug laws to help you obtain a positive outcome.

Illinois Drug Laws

Adults who reside in Illinois may possess up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of cannabis concentrate, and up to 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused product. If an individual possesses more than 30 grams of marijuana but less than 100 grams, it is a Class A misdemeanor. This crime carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and up to $2,500 in fines. For second or subsequent offenses, the charge can be elevated to a Class 4 felony with 1-3 years in jail in addition to a fine up to $25,000. The penalties increase depending on the amount of the substances involved. 

Those who are convicted for possession with the intent to deliver or sell face much harsher penalties than those who were charged with simple possession. Depending on the amount of the illegal substance, the crime could be charged as a Class 3 or X felony.

The legal consequences for possession with intent to sell drugs include:

  • Possession with intent to sell or distribute more than 15 grams of an illegal drug (besides marijuana) is considered a Class X felony, punishable by a prison sentence of 6-60 years and a fine of up to $500,000.

  • Possession with intent to sell or distribute less than 15 grams of an illegal drug (besides marijuana) can be charged anywhere from a Class 1 to a Class 3 felony. Prison terms range from 2-15 years and fines up to $250,000

Evidence that an individual intends to sell or deliver a controlled substance may include any of the following:

  • The drugs are packaged.

  • The defendant has bags and ties for packaging.

  • The defendant owns scales for weighing drugs.

  • The defendant has a large amount of drugs.

  • The defendant has a large sum of cash in his or her possession.

There are various ways that a criminal defense attorney can help you fight your charges, including proving that the police performed an illegal search and seizure of your home or vehicle, or proving that the drugs found in your possession were not yours.

What Is “Constructive Possession”?

When someone thinks of a drug sting or bust, he or she may conjure images of bags of drugs being seized by law enforcement agents like you see in the movies. However, the majority of drug charges are for small amounts. In addition, many of those who are charged with possession may not even have the drugs on them. The term “constructive possession” means a person is thought to be in possession of a controlled substance, but the drug is not physically in his or her control or actually on his or her body.

For example, the illegal substances are found nearby, either on the ground or inside of a vehicle the defendant is driving or a passenger in. The illegal drugs could also be inside of a house where a person is staying, and he or she is not the homeowner or renter.

In these cases, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had knowledge of the drugs and had immediate and exclusive possession of the drugs or control of them, which is often difficult. 

Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Although the state legalized recreational marijuana use, drug crimes are taken seriously in the state of Illinois. Navigating the criminal justice system can be daunting, and that is why you need professional legal counsel who can advise you on the best course of action for your situation. At the distinguished law firm of McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC, our diligent Joliet criminal law attorneys are prepared to build an aggressive defense strategy on your behalf to avoid a conviction. Call our office today at 815-727-0100 to arrange a free consultation. 


Sources: 

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=1941&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=5200000&SeqEnd=7900000

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