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Do You Know About the Drug-Free Zones in Illinois?

September 19th, 2019 at 7:25 am

IL defense lawyer, IL drug crimes attorneyIllinois has very strict laws surrounding drugs. Anyone convicted of committing an offense outlined in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act is subject to harsh penalties, no matter where they are at the time. However, location matters when charged with a drug crime. Like many other states, Illinois has drug-free zones. This means anyone caught committing a drug crime in these zones will face increased penalties, which may include several decades in jail.

Drug-free zones are highly controversial, and many states are considering removing these zones from their statutes. Unfortunately, Illinois has not yet made any such proposal to change their legislation.

How Drug-Free Zones Work

It was during the “War on Drugs” in the 1980s that drug-free zones became written into the law of every state. These laws stated there were certain zones that must be kept drug-free. The intent was to keep drugs out of the hands of children and protect them from other crimes such as theft, prostitution, and violent crimes associated with drug activity.

To ensure these zones were kept drug-free, these laws impose higher penalties for those caught committing a drug crime while in them. It does not matter if the offense involved a child or even the sale of drugs. Even those charged with a simple possession offense will face increased penalties under the law.

What Are the Drug-Free Zones in Illinois?

Drug-free zones are areas where children may be nearby. When most people think of these zones, they often only think of schools and public parks. However, the drug-free zones in Illinois keep expanding to include other areas, as well. Areas designated as drug-free zones in the state also include:

  • Public housing
  • Drug treatment facilities
  • Nursing homes
  • Highway and roadway rest areas
  • Churches
  • Truck stops
  • Correctional facilities

Some of these areas encompass much of Illinois, and that is why these laws are so controversial. Increasing penalties for offenses allegedly committed in these zones is only contributing to the state’s high incarceration rate. It also means the sentences for those convicted are disproportionate to the offense.

Enhanced Penalties for Drug-Free Zone Offenses

When a person commits a drug crime in a drug-free zone, the penalty is typically doubled if they are convicted. The prison time sentenced and fines issued will depend on the type of crime committed. The penalties for drug crimes not committed in a drug-free are below. Even though they do not reflect the enhanced sentencing, they are already very harsh.

  • Class X felonies: Six to 60 years in prison and a possible fine of $500,000 or the street value of the drug in question, whichever is greater
  • Class 1 felonies: Four to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000
  • Class 2 felonies: Three to seven years in prison, and a maximum fine of $200,000
  • Class 3 felonies: Two to five years in prison, and fines ranging between $75,000 and $150,000
  • Class 4 felonies: One to three years in prison and a maximum fine of $25,000

When these penalties are doubled, it is easy to see how someone could spend the rest of their life in prison simply for being in the wrong place.

Charged with a Drug Crime? Contact Our Illinois Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a drug crime, particularly if it occurred in a drug-free zone, you need a dedicated Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney. At the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley, we can provide the defense you need. We will challenge law enforcement’s investigation of the case, and refute arguments made by the prosecution. We will ensure your rights are protected every step of the way and give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at 847-394-3200 to schedule your free consultation.

 

Source:

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

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Written by Staff Writer

September 19th, 2019 at 7:25 am

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