Archive for the ‘Illinois possession laws’ Category

Narcotic Drug Laws in Illinois

February 20th, 2017 at 8:37 am

narcotic drug, Rolling Meadows Criminal Defense LawyerSome of the most commonly committed drug offenses in Illinois involve narcotic drugs. Criminal defendants across Illinois are arrested and charged with possession, sale, distribution, or manufacturing of narcotics, but do not fully understand what those charges mean.

Often, people are unclear on what a narcotic drug is, and instead merely know drugs by their street names—heroin, cocaine, opium. For clarification, under Illinois law, narcotic drugs include:

  • Opium and opiates, such as:
    • Oxycodone;
    • Codeine;
    • Hydrocodone;
    • Methadone; and
    • Hydromorphone.
  • Heroin;
  • Cocaine; and
  • Ecgonine (a cocaine-like substance).

Illinois is tough on drug offenses involving narcotic drugs because of their highly addictive nature, and people who use these drugs often form physical and psychological dependencies on these drugs. There is also a risk that a person taking these drugs could overdose.

More Information About the Illinois Controlled Substances Act

The Illinois Controlled Substances Act lays out the law concerning the possession, manufacture and distribution of controlled substances in Illinois. Substances that are considered controlled substances are broken down into five groups, or schedules. The schedules are arranged in descending order concerning risk of potential abuse and whether the substance has practical medical applications.

Schedule I substances have a high risk of abuse, and no accepted medical use. Schedule V substances, on the other hand, have a low risk of potential abuse, and have a high level of medical applicability. Opiates are generally classed as Schedule I substances, while cocaine and cocaine-like substances are classified as Schedule II substances.

If you have been charged with a narcotics offense, an experienced defense lawyer can help you identify the exact charges you are facing and what the possible consequences can be if you are convicted. Your lawyer will review your charging document to properly identify the controlled substance offense with which you are charged. Based on the Schedule of the narcotic your lawyer can identify the portion of the Controlled Substances Act that applies to your offense.

Being caught in possession of a narcotic drug substance is a felony, and the degree of felony depends on how much of the substance is found in your possession. The sale or distribution of a narcotic in Illinois is a felony as well. Similarly, the manufacture of narcotics is also a felony level offense. A felony conviction can have a serious and long-lasting impact on your life. You will need an experienced drug offenses lawyer to help you fight the charges against you.

Call The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

Criminal charges for possession of a controlled substance, distribution, or manufacturing are serious and they carry significant penalties if you are convicted. It is important for you to work with a skilled Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney who has experience handling drug cases like yours.

Source:

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

Illinois Considering Decriminalizing Certain Amounts of Marijuana Possession

May 25th, 2015 at 6:20 am

Illinois defense attorney, Illinois criminal lawyer, drug crimes, Illinios drug laws,Drug possession is one of the most prosecuted crimes in the American criminal justice system. Far too many people spend serious time in our jails and prisons for simply possessing a personal use quantity of a controlled substance. In fact, many of the people who are prosecuted possessed only marijuana. Fortunately, some states are taking steps to lessen or eliminate the penalties for marijuana possession. While Illinois has not yet taken steps to legalize marijuana possession, it is taking steps to decriminalize the substance.

Senate Committee Passed Important Marijuana Bill

The State Journal-Register reports that a state senate committee has passed a bill that would treat marijuana possession like a speeding ticket. The bill is called House Bill 218. If the current version of this bill were to become law it would make possession of 15 grams or less of marijuana punishable by a fine of up to $125. People who received one of these tickets would be eligible to have their records expunged after six months. To put this into perspective, 15 grams is roughly a half-ounce of marijuana, or enough to make between 20 and 30 joints. This bill already passed in the House by a vote of 62-53. The next step is for the full Senate to vote on the bill. If it passes there, it would go to the governor. Governor Bruce Rauner has not made any public statements about his position on the law, but he has made public statements supporting the idea of reducing our state’s incarcerated population. Supporting this bill would certainly accomplish that goal.

Bill Would Also Change DUI Standards

House Bill 218 would also change the standards for driving under the influence of marijuana charges. Currently Illinois law is out of touch with science. Under the current law, finding any amount of any marijuana metabolite in a person’s urine is enough for a DUI conviction. This is horribly unscientific because these metabolites can show up for weeks after a person uses marijuana while marijuana only affects a person for a few hours. If the new law were to pass, the standards for a DUI would require certain amounts of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in either the blood or another bodily substance. Facts do not exist to support that these standards would actually prove intoxication from a scientific perspective, but they are at least less oppressive than the standards under the current law.

Call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley

If you have been charged with possession of marijuana or any other drug you will need the help of an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. Don’t hesitate to call the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley. We regularly handle drug cases so we understand both the legal and personal issues involved in these cases. We will steer you in the right direction given your personal circumstances. Call us today at (847)394-3200.

Drug Possession: Using Legal Substances to Get High May Not Be Legal

March 11th, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Illinois criminal defense attorney, Illinois defense lawyer, Illinios drug crimes attorney,The so-called War on Drugs has been dragging on in the United States for decades. Despite law enforcement’s seemingly unending obsession with prosecuting drug laws, the use of illegal substances continues on. While many drug users are undeterred by the illegality of drug possession, others do fear the possibility of facing criminal charges or losing their jobs if they get caught with an illegal substance. So some of them, particularly younger people, result to using otherwise legal substances to get high. The theory is that if the substance is legal then they can not be prosecuted for using it. While this may make sense, in at least some cases it is not true.

Huffing or Inhaling a Perfectly Legal Substance to Get High is a Crime in Illinois

Many people, especially young people, “huff” or inhale regular household products or other legally possessed chemicals in order to experience a high. Doing this is a crime in Illinois. The law that makes it a crime is called the “Use of Intoxicating Compounds Act.” Under this law it is a crime to ingest, breath, inhale, or drink any compound, liquid, or chemical for the purpose of getting high. Additionally, it is a crime to sell any compound, liquid, or chemical that will induce an intoxicated condition to a minor under the age of 17 without the written permission of the minor’s parent or guardian. Its illegal to make a such a sale to a person of any age if you have a reason to know that the purchaser’s intent is to use the substance to get high. Depending on how many times a person is found guilty of a crime under this law and the type of substance involved, the crime can be a misdemeanor or a felony.

What About Kratom?

It may seem that kratom is still legal since it is a plant rather than a chemical, compound, or liquid. Kratom is made from a plant called mitragyna speciosa. It is usually consumed as a tea and in some people it can produce intoxicating effects. In Illinois, however, there is a law called the Kratom Control Act. While it does not address kratom use by adults, it does make it illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to purchase or possess kratom. It also makes it a crime to use a false identification card to obtain kratom. Committing either of these offenses is a Class B misdemeanor. It is also a Class B misdemeanor to sell or give kratom to a minor.

Call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley

When you are charged with a drug-related offense, or any crime, you need an experienced and dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney on your side. You should call the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We will listen to your side of the story and fight to get you the best possible outcome. Reach out to us today at (847)394-3200.

Drug Court in Illinois

November 20th, 2014 at 2:57 pm

drug addict, drug laws, Illinios criminal defense attorney, Many involved in the criminal justice system as the result of drug charges are battling a serious addiction. But for the drug dependency of these offenders, they most likely would not participate in illegal or criminal activity. In instances such as these, courts and law enforcement usually recognize the unique needs of these defendants and attempt to address them. Often times, this may involve the defendant participating in an alternative program known as drug court.

Drug Court FAQs

A recent news article touting the crime-reducing benefits of drug court in some counties goes on to explain some basic information regarding the program. Many counties in Illinois have formed drug court as a division of the Circuit Court. The eligible participants are ideally nonviolent drug-dependent offenders who are willing to submit to intensive treatment and accountability-based supervision in order to address their criminal charges and get a new chance at life. They are closely monitored by a judge and a larger drug court team.

The benefits of drug court are not limited to treatment. A relatively high percentage of participants who successfully complete the program have remained crime-free two years after completion. Some counties in Illinois boast a higher success rate than the 75 percent national average. Only one-third of similar defendants sentenced to traditional forms of punishment enjoy the same success. In short, well-run drug courts seem to be effective in bringing about higher rates of recovery from addiction as well as lower rates of drug-related crime.

Each drug court may operate under a slightly different set of rules and regulations decided by the chief judge within a particular county. In general, and in addition to the drug court judge, the rest of the team is made up of representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, the Public Defender’s Office, drug counselors, and probation officers. In order to qualify to participate in drug court, an offender must meet certain criteria including the absence of any disqualifying offenses (usually violent crimes), a finding that the offender is drug dependent, and final approval from the drug court team. If approved, the defendant will be required to enter a guilty plea and be placed on probation for a specified amount of time, as well as receive a jail term that is held open in the event the participant violates the rules of the program. If successful in the participation and completion of the program, the offender may be able to avoid a prison term altogether.

Criminal Defense Attorney

Drug court may be a viable alternative for drug-dependent criminal defendants. The experienced Rolling Meadows defense attorneys at the Law Office of Christopher M. Cosley can discuss your case with you and advise you of your rights if you have been charged with a drug offense. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We serve clients in Cook County and the surrounding areas.

Discussions on Decriminalization of Marijuana Ongoing in Illinois

October 14th, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Marijuana plantAccording to a recent report, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed the decriminalization marijuana in certain circumstances. While similar suggestions have been voiced in the past, it seems that not everyone in the state of Illinois is on the same page regarding the proposal. In fact, some very opposite opinions have been raised about reforming drug charges from officials in the state.

The Mayor’s Position

Mayor Emanuel is reportedly arguing that some drug possession charges should be reduced in severity. Specifically, he is allegedly advocating for the decriminalization of marijuana possession in small amounts across the state of Illinois and for the reduction of the criminal grading of possessing less than one gram of any controlled substance from a felony to a misdemeanor. He said that doing so would make the criminal justice system more available to address more serious challenges to public safety and further the progress that has already been made.

The Mayor’s proposals would not only change the criminal justice system by saving time and money, but it also has the potential to make real changes to people’s lives. Mainly, the Mayor pointed out that those defendants who are trying to move forward with their lives after a drug charge would face many more challenges with a felony on their record than they would with a misdemeanor charge. This is especially relevant in employment settings.

Law Enforcement’s Position

It seems that the consensus among local law enforcement officials is that the Mayor’s proposal sends the wrong message regarding criminal behavior and fails to accomplish anything that is not already provided for within the context of the current court system. Regarding the grading of the drug crimes mentioned, representatives from the State’s Attorney’s Office in Peoria County have voiced the opinion that people charged with such felonies now can potentially erase their conviction by successfully completing probation or other specialized programs such as drug court. Their point is that alternatives are available to defendants who deserve them and such alternatives are regularly made available which allow the person to avoid having a felony conviction on their record.

Police officers also raised concerns that changing the grading of these criminal offenses from felonies to misdemeanors may not only send the wrong message, but may actually end up benefiting drug dealers by making it easier to sell controlled substances in smaller quantities. In addition, other law enforcement officials have voiced the opinion that decriminalizing drug charges as outlined by the Mayor would convey the message that it is acceptable to use drugs as long as they are being used in smaller quantities. This may not only signal to some users that some narcotics are less dangerous, but also that some drugs are considered “better” in the eyes of the law.

These concerns are of particular importance, officers are saying, as Illinois is in the middle of a heroin epidemic. Lowering penalties and hoping for a better result, they say, does not make sense. Instead, some are calling for a treatment component to be advanced with the decriminalization proposal it is advances. It is important to note that, in general, police seemed less concerned about the decriminalization of marijuana, in small amounts, where they would be allowed to issue citations for the offense.

Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a drug crime in the Chicago area, do not hesitate to contact the experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today. We can schedule a consultation to meet with you in our Rolling Meadows or Chicago office to discuss your case.

National Prescription Drug Addiction Epidemic Out of Control

October 8th, 2014 at 8:21 am

drug laws, opiate addiction, Illinois criminal defense attorney, Some drug cases involve not only legal issues, but deeper issues that some may even argue are more serious than the resulting criminal charges. Many defendants who have been charged with a drug crime are suffering from a prescription drug addiction that is out of control. While they may have their fair share of legal problems to deal with, treating the underlying addiction should also top their priority list. A recent report examined the problem of drug overdoses specifically related to prescription drugs and what obstacles are in the way of trying to stop them.

Doctor Shopping

Abuse of prescription drugs seems to be on the rise, and efforts to stop it are falling short. While many drugs are considered by law to be illegal, prescription drug abuse involves using otherwise legal drugs in an illegal way. Sometimes this may involve taking more than the prescribed dose of a drug, while other times it involves “doctor shopping” to obtain a prescription for a certain type of drug. This practice by drug addicts is known to lead directly to drug overdoses, particularly by those addicted to opioids. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 17,000 fatal overdoses from pain medications in the year 2011. This was more than the amount of overdoses that resulted from heroin and cocaine combined. This is the latest year for which such numbers are available.

Federal Response

About 12 years ago, there was an effort made to launch a federal program that was aimed at preventing practices of doctor shopping. It involved encouraging states to share information about patient prescription histories. However, there currently is no national database in place to curb this practice. Complicating matters further is the fact that different states follow different rules in their prescription drug monitoring programs. In some states, doctors are not even required to check the program before writing a patient a prescription for opioids.

Obviously, as medical professionals are pointing out, failing to use the systems that are in place will surely cause a failure to detect any misuse. Some are advocating for using prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) across state lines to be truly effective. While most states have PDMPs, each state’s rules regarding them vary and even doctor participation is not always required. Another setback for the programs is human error with inputting a patient’s information, causing inaccessibility to prescription history in certain situations.

The main problem, however, is that PDMPs from different states do not always have access to one another’s databases. At a result, action is being taken at different levels. Some states and other groups are taking steps to form a national database, and some states are enforcing stricter rules about reporting prescriptions. But many agree that the most effective step would be to create a national registry.

Criminal Defense Attorney

The experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense lawyers at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley have successfully represented clients in drug cases. Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss your matter.

Could Marijuana Possession be Decriminalized?

March 18th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

marijuana decriminalization, marijuana possession, Illinois criminal law, criminal defense, laweyr attorneyIn an effort to address the problem of ever-growing prison populations, a recent article reported that an Illinois lawmaker is proposing lower penalties for offenses involving small amounts of some drugs. The proposal includes decriminalizing low-level marijuana possession in favor of punishing the offense with a citation comparable to a traffic ticket.

The Proposal

The proposed change, coming from Rep. Michael Zalewski, a Democrat from Riverside, is part of a recent interest in realigning the criminal justice system in order to decrease the population of inmates in prisons across Illinois. He said his plan would also include lessening the penalty for possession of small amounts of other drugs, including heroin and cocaine. The proposal as it relates to marijuana would impart a $250.00 fine for the first such offense.

According to Zalewski, the plan would not only reduce prison populations, but would also lessen the burden for law enforcement labs to test substances related to criminal cases that may get dismissed anyway. He has been a recent advocate of a number of bills aimed at reducing sentences for certain criminal offenses, in spite of his previous efforts at tougher penalties for violations of gun control laws.

Committee Approval

Although the Judiciary Committee heard Zalewski’s proposals, they did not take a vote. Zalewski is beginning to gauge support for the proposals by speaking with colleagues, and has not yet stated when he will ask for panel approval.

Prison Overpopulation

Currently, there are 49,000 individuals imprisoned in Illinois’ correctional system, which was built to hold just 32,000. State prisons regularly house about 4,500 more inmates than they are suited to hold. The proposals outlined above, as well as other similar measures, take aim at those crimes that account for a large number of inmates in state prison. Not only would the measures allow for the reduction of the prison population, but would also pave the way for harsher penalties to be enforced for more serious crimes, such as gun offenses, something Zaleski also supports.

Not only does the overpopulation of prisons pose the realistic problem of space, but also the financial and budgetary problem of overspending on the prison system. Some estimate that the amount spent is about $1.3 billion – which is a great sum, but not even enough to adequately meet the needs of the inmates currently in the system.

Working out the Details

Zaleski refrained from describing the measure as the decriminalization of marijuana, the details of which are still being defined. He said it was more of a restructuring of the criminal justice system as it related to these offenses.

Even though the proposal has not been put into legislation yet, representatives from the narcotics bureau of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said those arrested for possession of about an ounce of marijuana would face a $250.00 fine for their first offense. Previously, they would have faced up to one year of incarceration. Possession crimes involving heroin, cocaine, or other drugs will have a three-year prison term associated with them instead of four.

Drug crimes can be serious offenses. It is beneficial to have an experienced criminal defense attorney in Illinois to protect your rights. Contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley today for a consultation about your specific matter.

Medical Marijuana Use in Illinois

February 14th, 2014 at 1:02 pm

medical marijuana IMAGEThe legal status of marijuana use has been a popular topic in the media in the recent past. In fact, many are pointing out the coincidence that the two teams who will be competing in this year’s NFL Superbowl are from the two states that have legalized marijuana use across the board. While other states have not made such a dramatic change in their laws regarding use of the drug, a number of states across the country have legalized marijuana for the limited purpose of medical use. Illinois is one such state.

 Conditions to Legally Use Medical Marijuana in Illinois

Just because Illinois has legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes does not mean that users are free to do so at their own discretion. According to an article recently published by Liberty Voice, an individual who seeks to use the drug for medical reasons may still have to pay a substantial fee, get a background check, be fingerprinted by law enforcement, and could be asked to surrender their firearms. Other costs associated with the legal use of marijuana for medical reasons can include a $150.00 fee for an identification card application and the cost of fingerprinting, which can range from $30.00 to $50.00.

 Limits of the Law

In Illinois, marijuana was legalized for the limited purpose of use as another method of treatment for grave diseases that cause what is considered a debilitating condition, as well as chronic pain. Those who suffer from such defined diseases can use the drug within certain guidelines that still have to be fully defined. Other use is still illegal, and possession of the drug in Illinois will still be considered a Federal offense.

The Illinois Department of Public Health posted the proposed rules and regulations regarding the new law on their website. After February 7th, any public comments submitted will be turned over to the panel of lawmakers who will decide by April 2014 what exactly the medical marijuana law will include in the state. The law is part of a pilot project for medical marijuana use in Illinois, and will be in effect for four years.

 The State’s Position

Illinois concedes that medical marijuana use has a long history going back thousands of years, and modern medicine supports that its use is beneficial for those suffering with debilitating illnesses such as cancer, HIV and AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. The drug can be effective in treating pain and addressing side effects associated with these illnesses that other medicine cannot. Licensed physicians have recommended the drug to hundreds of thousands of patients in other states where medical use is legal, and its recognition by other medical organizations gives it credibility.

This law represents an important change in Illinois’ drug laws. However, it is important to note that the change is very narrow and limited to a specific use that must meet numerous conditions and regulations in order to be considered legal. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime involving illegal drugs in Illinois, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. Contact us today to discuss your case.

New Police Procedure to Battle Heroin Addiction in DuPage County

February 3rd, 2014 at 12:09 pm

DuPage Narcan Program IMAGEThe popularity of TV shows involving illegal drugs as a central theme could be seen as an indication of the issue’s presence in the everyday lives of many Americans. While not all people suffer from or are necessarily predisposed to drug addiction, the fact is that the use and abuse of illegal substances also carries with it an indirect effect on those people around the user. Those people affected may include friends and family, and can even extend so far as law enforcement, as is evidenced in a change in their procedure recently reported by a media outlet.

It was announced this week that the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office will now be carrying Narcan (Naloxone), a drug known to prevent heroin overdoses, in their squad cars. In doing so, they will become the first sheriff’s office in the state of Illinois to do so. The Sheriff’s Office is just one of the DuPage County’s Law Enforcement Agencies participating in the new DuPage Narcan Program (DNP).

Now, Sheriff’s Deputies will carry Narcan, which can reverse the process of a drug overdose and save the life of a drug user who may otherwise die. The logic is that often, deputies arrive on the scene of a reported incident before the paramedics or EMTs, and having them prepared to use the drug on a potential overdose victim could save a life. The change in procedure is, in part, a response to the 45 heroin related deaths that occurred in DuPage County in 2013.

While the Sheriff’s Office is still working to battle the presence of the drug in the community, the new Program serves to fulfill another aspect of their approach in directly helping those individuals who continue to struggle with addiction. Eventually, the idea is for the pilot program to prove successful enough to support the implementation of the new procedure in law enforcement agencies in all counties in the state of Illinois.

While this new procedure is ultimately meant to address a pressing issue faced by law enforcement when dealing with drug addicted individuals, the fact remains that that person will still have a host of other issues to deal with. Depending on the circumstances, they may be charged with multiple criminal offenses involving the possession of illegal drugs. In addition to fighting their addiction, they will have to also fight a legal battle in criminal court.

An experienced criminal defense attorney in Chicago can be invaluable in defending a client with drug charges. Our attorneys have a successful reputation of doing just that. If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in Illinois involving illegal drugs, contact us today for a consultation.

The Theory of Constructive Possession in Criminal Matters

November 25th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

There are multiple criminal offenses in Illinois that include the concept of possession as a basis of criminal liability.  Perhaps criminal offenses involving contraband, such as weapons or illegal narcotics, are those crimes involving possession with which we are most familiar.  The law extends the definition of possession to include both actual possession as well as constructive possession.

The Theory of Constructive PossessionThe Possession Rules in Illinois

In order to impose criminal liability on the basis of constructive possession in Illinois, the facts of the case must support the finding that the defendant knew of the existence of the contraband, and also was in a position to exercise control over it despite the fact that the defendant may not have had physical control of the contraband. In other words, the theory of constructive possession involves demonstrating that the defendant has both the intent and the capability to maintain control and dominion over the illegal item. Cases involving constructive possession typically include owners or tenants of a home, car, or apartment where contraband is found. This definition has been interpreted and applied in different ways by courts in Illinois.

In People v. Schmalz, the Defendant was charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia after she was discovered by a police officer in a room with three other people.  The officer saw three clear plastic bags of leafy substance (later identified as cannabis) and three bongs on the floor, within the defendant’s reach.  Defendant was arrested, and the officer discovered additional cannabis and additional paraphernalia in other areas of the house.  It was established that Defendant neither rented nor regularly stayed in the apartment where the contraband was found.  The Circuit Court returned a guilty verdict and Defendant appealed.  The Circuit Court reversed the decision, finding that while the Defendant had knowledge of the contraband, the State failed to establish that the defendant had any physical control over it, nor did the State prove that the Defendant attempted to exercise dominion over the contraband by trying to hide or conceal it.  Further, the Court found that the State presented no evidence, including a lack of fingerprint evidence, that the Defendant had brought the contraband into the apartment or how long it had been there. No contraband was found on the Defendant’s person or in her belongings.  As a result, Defendant’s conviction was overturned.

It is important to note that while the appellate court in Schmalz did not find evidence sufficient to establish constructive possession, many cases exist in Illinois where courts have convicted the defendant under different facts and circumstances.  An experienced criminal defense attorney in Illinois can help you to understand the law as it applies to the facts of your specific case, while also providing valuable insight according to their experience in criminal defense.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime involving possession of contraband in the Chicago area, contact us today to discuss your options and preserve your rights.