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The Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley
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Archive for the ‘Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney’ tag

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.



Cocaine Drug Offenses in Illinois

October 4th, 2016 at 12:45 pm

cocaine drug offenses, rolling meadowsCocaine is a very popular drug that acts as a stimulant; people who use this drug experience an energetic high. Cocaine can be consumed in a number of different ways, including injection, inhalation, or by snorting it up the nose. While the drug may have some initial stimulating effects, cocaine has a lot of serious health consequences.

Cocaine is a highly addictive illegal drug that has lead to many individuals facing drug charges. They might have been charged with cocaine possession, cocaine distribution, or trafficking. What all of these drug offenses have in common is that they are all felonies. How serious the offense is depends on a number of factors—a history of cocaine drug offenses, the amount of drugs involved, where the drugs were found (e.g., a drug sale near a school or truck stop) and to whom the drugs were sold (e.g., minors, pregnant women, etc.).

Cocaine Drug Offenses Carry Years of Jail Time

Illinois law considers cocaine to be a controlled substance under the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, and does not take cocaine possession, distribution or trafficking lightly. For instance, possession of just a small amount of cocaine can put you in jail for up to three years. Selling less than a gram of cocaine can lead to a jail sentence of three to seven years. Trafficking just a few grams of cocaine across state lines can result in anywhere from four to 15 years of jail time. And these are just jail sentences for small quantities of cocaine. Drug charges are serious, and you need an experienced drug offenses lawyer by your side to help you fight for your rights and your freedom.

What is Required to Prove Guilt for a Cocaine Offense?

First and foremost, when you are facing drug charges, your criminal defense lawyer will want to make sure that the prosecution is proving each and every element of your alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. The specific elements for particular drug crimes might vary slightly, but for the most part it must be shown that you had possession of the cocaine, and that you knew, or thought it was cocaine.

Possession can be proven through actual or constructive possession of the cocaine. Actual possession means that the drugs were found on your person or nearby. For instance, cocaine found in your pocket, purse, or backpack could be used to demonstrate actual possession. Constructive possession means that the drugs are found somewhere that only you have access to, and thus the drugs were constructively in your possession. For example, cocaine found in a trunk in your living room in your apartment where you live alone will likely be enough to show constructive possession of the cocaine.

Your lawyer will act aggressively to disestablish a claim of possession, because if the prosecution cannot show that the drugs were in your possession beyond a reasonable doubt, then the charges against you should be dropped. If there is any chance that someone else was in possession of the drugs, or that someone else could have placed the drugs wherever they were found, then the possession of the drugs should not be pinned on you.

Facing Cocaine Drug Charges? Contact a Lawyer Today

Cocaine drug charges can carry substantial jail time. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately if you need assistance in your criminal case.


Methamphetamine Drug Charges in Illinois

June 22nd, 2016 at 11:34 am

Illinois methamphetamine drug charges, Rolling Meadows Drug Crimes AttorneyMethamphetamine is one of the most popular illegal drugs in Illinois. There are several reasons why people prefer to use methamphetamine as their illegal drug of choice and why it is so popular. Reasons include the following:

  • Methamphetamine gives the same high sensation as cocaine, but the high lasts longer with methamphetamines;
  • Methamphetamine is easy to make;
  • Methamphetamine is easy to take, being consumable through ingestion, inhalation and injection; and
  • Methamphetamine is less expensive than cocaine.

Methamphetamine is a Serious Illegal Drug

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and dangerous drug, and users can suffer injury or even death. Moreover, methamphetamine is an illegal substance, and you can therefore be charged with serious drug charges if you are caught in possession, manufacturing, or selling methamphetamine. The State of Illinois takes methamphetamine drug charges so seriously that methamphetamine has its own set of criminal laws: The Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act under 720 ILCS 646.

Individuals who are arrested and charged with methamphetamine drug charges need to seek legal consultation from an experienced and skilled drug criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Only a criminal defense lawyer with years of experience knows the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act provisions inside and out, and will fight to get you the fair treatment you are entitled to under the law. Depending on your particular charges and circumstances, it may be possible to get your charges reduced or even dropped altogether.

The Basics of Methamphetamine Criminal Charges

The basics of methamphetamine drug charges are straightforward and include:

  • Methamphetamine possession, even for a very small amount, is a felony in Illinois;
  • Methamphetamine manufacturing, even for a very small amount, is a felony in Illinois; and
  • Selling methamphetamine, even for a very small amount, is a felony in Illinois.

There is a clear pattern here—drug charges associated with methamphetamine lead to felony level charges. Felony drug charges are nothing to laugh at as they can result in serious prison time, huge fines, mandatory attendance in a drug treatment program, and a criminal record that does not go away easily.

Sometimes a Plea Deal is a Good Idea

In some cases your guilt might be undeniable. A skilled lawyer will recognize the opportunity to try and work out a plea deal with the prosecution, which could result in a lesser sentence for you. Or, you may be able to avoid jail time altogether by agreeing to enter into a drug rehabilitation program. Consult with your lawyer about your options before deciding whether a plea deal is right for you.  

Facing Meth Charges? Get a Lawyer

Methamphetamine drug charges are serious. Therefore, a skilled drug crimes criminal defense lawyer can go a long way towards getting you the best possible outcome in light of your circumstances. Do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately. We can assist you today.


Illinois May Have a Good Samaritan Law for Reporting Overdoses, Yet You Could Still be Charged with Drug Crimes

April 14th, 2016 at 7:00 am

Illinois good samaritan law, overdose, Rolling Meadows Drug Crimes AttorneyIn an effort to help combat the heroin epidemic that has been plaguing the United States in the past few years, in 2012 the Illinois Controlled Substances Act and the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act was amended to include a provision that provides limited immunity from prosecution for those who witness an overdose and call for help. In other words, those who report an overdose can avoid at least some drug charges. The provision is codified in 720 ILCS 570/414, and is sometimes referred to as the Illinois Good Samaritan Overdose Law.

Good Samaritan Overdose Law Limited to Possession of Drugs That Can Cause Overdoses

The overdose law offers protection to those who report an overdose. However, the protection offered by the law is strictly limited to possession and is limited to small quantities of drugs that are capable of causing an overdose. Those who seek medical attention for someone who is overdosing will not be charged with a Class 4 felony for possession of a controlled, counterfeit, or look-alike substance or a controlled substance analog if evidence for a Class 4 charge was acquired as a result of seeking help for the person who is overdosing.

The law is only applicable if a small quantity of drugs are found at the scene of the overdose, such as:

  • Less than three grams of heroin, cocaine, morphine or LSD;
  • Less than six grams of pentazocine (an opioid), quaaludes, PCP or ketamine; or
  • Less than 40 grams of peyote, barbiturates, amphetamines, or any Schedule I or II narcotics.  

But the Law Does Not Protect Against a Lot of Other Potential Charges

The law does not protect against drug charges for other drugs, such as cannabis, methamphetamines or other controlled substances. Nor does the law protect those who report overdose victims from other drug charges, such as possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of cannabis, possession of methamphetamines, and drug delivery.

Those who report the overdose could also face other criminal charges if the circumstances warrant such charges, such as driving with a revoked or suspended license, DUI, or aggravated battery (if the person who reported the overdose is suspected of assisting the victim in injecting him or herself with the drug that caused the overdose).

So while you might be doing the “right thing” by calling for medical assistance if you witness someone overdosing on drugs, you should be aware that the overdose law only offers you limited protection from criminal prosecution. It is very easy in an overdose situation to find evidence of other crimes that you would not be immune to under the overdose law.

Contact Us for Help with Your Case

Just because there is a good samaritan overdose reporting law, it does not mean that you are protected against all criminal charges you might face if the cops show up. There are a number of other drug charges you could face. Please contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately if you have been arrested after reporting an overdose. Our attorneys are prepared to assist you today.


Getting Caught With Drug Paraphernalia in Illinois

February 25th, 2016 at 7:50 am

drug paraphernalia, Rolling Meadows Drug Crimes AttorneyIt is all too common for criminal defendants to be arrested because they are in possession of drug paraphernalia. Even if you have absolutely no drugs on you at the time the arrest is made, law enforcement can still bust you for having the tools necessary to use drugs under 720 ILCS 600, also referred to as the Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Act. When a person knowingly has the drug paraphernalia in their possession, it is difficult to refute the charges.

Drug Paraphernalia That Can Get You Arrested in Illinois

There are several types of drug paraphernalia that can get you into trouble with law enforcement. A few common examples include:

  • Marijuana bongs and pipes;
  • Crack pipes;
  • Syringes, when the person in possession of the syringes lacks a medical condition that would justify him or her having syringes;
  • Cocaine spoons or cocaine vials;
  • Lab equipment for use in manufacturing methamphetamines;
  • Drug baggies or balloons;
  • Measuring scales; and
  • Roach clips.
  • However, Illinois drug paraphernalia law also cover the equipment, chemicals and tools required to cultivate, or grow marijuana as well.

Regardless of the type of drug paraphernalia that is found in your possession, all drug paraphernalia charges are treated the same. A person who is found with a bong in his or her possession is treated just the same as a person who is found with a cocaine vial in his or her possession, or someone who is found with heroin needles.

But What About Headshops? They Sell Bongs

There are countless shops and stores that legally sell smoking apparati to customers. These establishments are permitted to sell these pipes and devices because these devices can also be used to smoke legal substances. In order to be charged under the Illinois Drug Paraphernalia Act, the drug paraphernalia must be sold or in your possession with the intent to use the paraphernalia to use illegal drugs.

What Are Some Defenses to Drug Paraphernalia Charges?

There are a number of defenses that can be raised against drug paraphernalia charges, and which ones are applicable depend on the specific circumstances a criminal defendant is facing. For instance:

  • Someone who has a medical reason to be in possession of hypodermic needles may lack the intent to use the needles to do illegal drugs;
  • Someone who does not know that the drug paraphernalia is in his or her possession might have a defense against the charges; and
  • If the drug paraphernalia was found during a search, was the search conducted by law enforcement proper? Was a warrant necessary? Did the law enforcement have one? Was there reasonable suspicion to conduct a search?

Reach Out to Us for Assistance

Possession of drug paraphernalia is a serious criminal charge, and an experienced criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you identify your legal options and can help prepare your strongest possible defense. Please do not hesitate to contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately at the Law Offices of Christopher M. Cosley. We are happy to help you today.


Selling Fake Drugs is a Crime in Illinois

February 18th, 2016 at 7:00 am

selling fake drugs, Rolling Meadows Drug Crimes AttorneySurprising as it may seem, if you are busted for selling fake drugs, you can be charged with a felony. While the substance that you are peddling may not in fact be the illegal substance you are advertising it to be, if it looks like the drug you allege it to be, and you are trying to sell it as the real stuff, that is a crime. Illinois law enforcement is just as serious about look-alike drugs as they are about real drugs. Police will arrest you, and you will be charged, just like you would if you had committed a crime with real drugs.

What is a Look-Alike Drug?

Just as the name implies, a look-alike drug is a substance that looks like the real thing. The alleged drug could be marijuana, crack, heroin, pills, etc. that is designed to look legitimate. The substance could have the correct coloring, appearance, smell, consistency, size, branding, packaging, and flavor as the real stuff and yet be counterfeit. If the fake drug could deceive a reasonable person into thinking the fake is the real drug, it is a look-alike drug.

How Do People Get Caught Selling Look-Alikes?

Under 720 ILCS 570/404, it is illegal to manufacture, distribute, advertise, or possess look-alike drugs or controlled substances in Illinois. Most often when criminal defendants get caught with fake drugs it is because the defendant is trying to sell them. The defendant might be advertising that what he or she is selling are legitimate, real drugs. The defendant might even offer “samples” of real drugs, only to swap out fake drugs after a sale has been made. Defendants often get caught selling fake drugs to undercover law enforcement officers, or are reported to police by anonymous tips left by jilted customers.

Potential Defenses

When facing drug charges, it is important to evaluate every possible defense available to the criminal defendant. While it may not be much of a consolation, the defendant must have knowledge that the drug is fake in order to be convicted on look-alike charges.

Another potential defense lies in how the look-alike drugs were found. If the look-alikes were found as part of a search, was the search properly conducted by law enforcement? Was there reasonable suspicion? Was there probable cause? Was a warrant necessary? Did the police have the warrant they needed to conduct a legal search? Your criminal defense lawyer should consider every possible angle of your criminal defense.

Let Us Assist You With Your Case

Selling imitation drugs can get you into just as much trouble as selling the real stuff. If you are facing criminal charges for selling real or fake drugs, please contact a skilled Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately. The attorneys at our office are happy to help you.


Drug Charges Resulting From Police Mistake or Corruption

February 2nd, 2016 at 11:36 am

drug charges, police mistake or corruption, Rolling Meadows Drug Crimes AttorneyThere are instances where drug charges are made against a criminal defendant, yet some sort of foul play or mistake was made by law enforcement during the search, seizure or arrest. At times, it can be a matter of error. For instance, a police officer may not follow protocol appropriately during a search and seizure or may fail to properly perform an arrest. Additionally, an officer may forget to read a defendant his or her rights upon arrest.

When errors occur, it can render certain evidence inadmissible at trial, or the charges could be dropped completely, because the criminal defendant’s rights were violated. Other times, an arrest could be made due to foul play by an officer. It is not often that law enforcement deliberately and intentionally acts in a corrupt or unethical way; however, it can happen.

Being Framed with Drugs

Nothing is as unfair or as unjust as being framed for a crime that you did not commit. There have been instances where criminal defendants in Illinois have successfully beaten drug charges or had their criminal convictions reversed in cases where they were framed by law enforcement. Being framed for drug charges can take many forms. Examples can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Drugs were planted by law enforcement on the defendant or in the defendant’s personal property or home;
  • The criminal defendant was entrapped by law enforcement into committing a crime that he or she would not normally have been inclined to commit without the encouragement of law enforcement;
  • Charges were fabricated by the arresting officer; or
  • Police gave false statements or created false reports in order to obtain a conviction or protect one another.

Many people do not realize that there are laws in place to protect the people from police corruption and misconduct. Police conduct is governed by two sets of statutes:

  • 720 ILCS 5/33-3, which is directed to official misconduct, whereby law enforcement is not permitted to break the law; and
  • 720 ILCS 5/33-4, which prohibits police officers from engaging in activities similar to that of gang members.

Proving that a defendant was framed for a drug crime is very difficult. Moreover, accusations that law enforcement acted unethically is a serious matter. Police officers are tasked with serving and protecting, and the court gives the testimony made by police officers hefty weight. A judge and jury inherently wants to trust law enforcement, and police officers swear an oath to serve and protect, of which it is presumed that they abide.

Let Us Assist You Today

You should not be charged or convicted of a crime you did not commit. Therefore, having an experienced criminal defense attorney representing you and fighting for your rights is essential. If you are facing drug charges, please contact a Rolling Meadows drug crimes attorney immediately. A skilled attorney at our office can assist you today.


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