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Archive for the ‘marijuana possession’ tag

Illinois House of Representatives to Consider Decriminalizing Marijuana Possession

June 1st, 2016 at 7:36 am

Illinois decriminalizing marijuana possession, Illinois Criminal Defense LawyerThe Illinois legislature is taking another shot at decriminalizing the possession of small quantities of marijuana. In recent years, the legislature has unsuccessfully attempted to accomplish decriminalization, with bills often being derailed during the approval process. A similar bill was proposed last year, but was vetoed by Governor Bruce Rauner. However, Governor Rauner offered guidance to legislators on how to modify the bill so that it would have better success at being approved—the governor was concerned that the old version of the bill allowed people to carry too much marijuana and did not require the payment of a large enough fine. The new bill, SB 2228 incorporates the governor’s guidance.  

With so many other states legalizing the use, purchase and possession of marijuana, it seems that states like Illinois are slowly catching on that possession of small quantities of marijuana might not be such a horrible crime that warrants serious consequences, such as arrest, jail time, and a criminal record. There are more than 100 local communities in Illinois that have already passed local measures that remove criminal penalties from marijuana possession, when the quantity in question is small.

Current Marijuana Possession Law

Under the current law, Illinois takes a fairly strict stance against minor marijuana possession. Under 720 ILCS 550/4(c) of the Cannabis Control Act, possession of between 2.5 and 10 grams of cannabis is a Class B misdemeanor. Those who are convicted can face up to six months in jail and/or a fine.

However, under the new law, in its current form as SB 2228, possession of marijuana in the amount of 10 grams or less would be decriminalized to a civil law violation that is punishable by the payment of a one hundred to $200 fine. The bill also allows for individual towns and cities to add other penalties on top of the penalties prescribed by the bill, and would require that citations for marijuana possession under the new bill to be automatically expunged bi-annually.

Despite passage in the Illinois Senate by a vote of 40-14, there is strong opposition to the bill from law enforcement officers and advocates who are against the legalization of marijuana. Regardless, the bill is expected to pass in the House.

Until minor marijuana possession is decriminalized, possession of between two and a half and ten grams is a Class B misdemeanor. Remember, if you are arrested for marijuana possession in Illinois, then it is important to get into contact with a drug offenses lawyer to help mitigate or reduce the charges you face, or get the charges dismissed altogether.

Let Us Assist You Today

While the proposed bill to decriminalize possession of a small quantity of marijuana is presently before the House of Representatives for review, that does not mean that marijuana possession has been decriminalized yet. If you are facing criminal charges for possession of a small quantity of marijuana, you should reach out to an experienced Rolling Meadows criminal defense attorney at our office for help. We can help protect your rights throughout your case.


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.

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.

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