Chicago Drug Charges Attorney
You Need an Experienced CRIMINAL LAWYER to DEFEND AND CHALLENGE Against Drug Charges
Every year, millions of people are arrested in the United States for drug crimes related to the use or sale of controlled substances.
Controlled substances are drugs that are obtained through a prescription from a doctor or that have been determined to be illegal and of no medical use by federal or state law. Drugs that are controlled are monitored carefully because of the potential for addiction, misuse, abuse and harm to the general public, the potential for drug trafficking and making of illegal money, and the potential for violence that goes along with illegal drug sales.
The fines and punishments that go along with the use, possession, manufacturing, distribution, trafficking, producing and delivery of controlled substances differs at both state and federal levels. On the federal level, drug offenses generally result in heavier sentences. That is because oftentimes charges such as drug trafficking involve the moving of drugs across state lines. On a state level, drug possession charges are seen more often and generally carry less harsh sentences. However, different states have different classifications and penalties for drug-related crimes.
TYPES OF DRUG CRIMES
Possession of drugs such as heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD, ketamine, Xanax, oxycontin and other prescription pills is a crime in Illinois. Criminal charges stemming from possession, sales, distribution, or trafficking of these drugs without a prescription are felonies. Felonies carry with more severe penalties than misdemeanor offenses, including prison (over one year), and large fines.
The severity of your sentence will depend on what schedule the drug is categorized by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Drugs are categorized under one of five schedules that are based on whether they have any medical benefit or potential for abuse or addiction. Schedule I drugs are defined as those with no accepted medical benefit and have a high potential for abuse and addiction such as: heroin, ecstasy, and peyote. Schedule II drugs have a high possibility for abuse and may lead to psychological or physical dependence, such as: methamphetamine, cocaine, methadone, Demerol, OxyContin, Fentanyl, Adderall and other prescription drugs.
If you are charged with a drug offense, prosecutors will determine the level of severity based on what they allege you are doing with the drugs. Acts involving drugs fall into the following categories:
- Possession: If a person is found with drugs, but wasn’t seen in the act of selling or delivering, they will likely be charged with possession. Based on factors such as the weight of the drugs, how the drugs are packaged, and whether large amounts of money or other items, such as scales and baggies, are recovered with the drugs, a person may be charged with simple possession or possession with intent to sell.
- Constructive possession: A person can be charged with the possession of drugs even if they are not actually carrying the drugs. This is the concept of constructive possession. If the drugs were found on the suspect’s property and they had knowledge the drugs were present, they can be charged.
- Possession with intent to sell/delivery: As mentioned above, prosecutors look at factors such as the weight of the drugs, how the drugs are packaged, and whether large amounts of money or other items, such as scales and baggies, are recovered with the drugs to determine whether a person will be charged with possession or possession with intent to sell. Possession with intent to sell and deliver carry greater penalties than simple possession. Law enforcement would rather punish the drug dealer than the user.
- Manufacturing or cultivating: Depending on the type of drug the individual is alleged to be growing or making, charges of manufacturing or cultivating a controlled substance can be brought. If the production of the drug is a chemical, like heroin, ecstasy or cocaine, the person will be charged with manufacturing. Cultivating, on the other hand, means the illegal growing, possessing, or producing of controlled substances such as cannabis.
- Trafficking: Drug trafficking is the illegal transportation, distribution, and sale of illegal drugs. On the state and federal level, drug trafficking carries some of the harshest penalties related to drug crimes. Prosecutors will look at the type of drugs involved, how the drugs were transported, the level of sophistication of the operation, the number of people involved in the operation, the distance and scope of the distribution ring, who the drugs were intended to be sold to, how much money was involved in the transactions, and the quantity of how much the person was intending to sell.
DRUG CRIME PENALTIES
In Illinois, drug crimes carry a wide range of sentences and punishments. For example, a simple possession charge may carry a penalty of more than one-year in prison. Drug distribution and trafficking charges carry possible penalties of 60 years or more, with heavy fines and accompanying charges.
Federal prosecutors usually do not charge drug crimes unless there is evidence of trafficking, distribution, violence associated with the sale of drugs, or deaths that result from the enterprise. If the United States Attorney takes on a case, the punishments tends to be more severe, as mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines have been enacted to punish high-level drug dealing operations.
Potential Defenses We Can Use Against Drug Charges
Getting charged with a drug-related offense in Illinois, such as the illegal possession of controlled substances like prescription drugs, can have life-altering consequences. Our motivated criminal defense lawyer can fight aggressively on your behalf by employing the following defense strategies.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
You are protected by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution against unwarranted search and seizure.
Drug possession is illegal under Illinois law. If a police officer pulls you over for speeding and finds illegal drugs sitting in plain view, they can hold you on drug charges. They can also seize the illegal substance as evidence.
However, if an illegal controlled substance is in the glove compartment or trunk, police officers are not allowed to conduct a search without probable cause or a warrant. Our skilled drug charges attorney can prove any evidence of a drug crime was uncovered in an unlawful search and get the charges against you dropped.
Not in Possession
Possession with intent is a major factor in most drug crimes. The police don’t necessarily have to find drug paraphernalia in your possession or directly on your body to charge you with drug-related crimes.
For instance, if you are at your friend’s place and the police enter to find drugs on the table, they can charge everyone in the room with possession. In such situations, the seasoned criminal defense attorney at our law offices will aim to prove that you did not have access to or control of the drugs.
It’s perfectly legal for law enforcement officials to go undercover in the Chicago area to set up a sting operation. With that said, police officers cannot induce a suspect to commit a crime. This is known as entrapment and is illegal.
Law enforcement personnel and their informants cannot encourage someone to commit a crime that they probably would not have committed otherwise. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, we may employ the entrapment defense to protect your rights and defend you against the charges of drug crimes.
Proving Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Prosecuting attorneys are required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of the drug crime. Our experienced criminal defense lawyer will poke holes in the prosecution’s case. They will use evidence-based arguments to show that reasonable doubt exists and the prosecution has failed to prove their claims beyond this critical legal threshold.
How Our Drug Charges Defense Lawyer Can Help
The experienced criminal attorney at The Law Office of Purav Bhatt will create a powerful and aggressive drug crime defense to help you avoid a conviction. These are a few things that our resourceful Chicago drug crime defense attorney can do for you:
- Negotiate: Whether you are arrested for drug trafficking or constructive possession, our Illinois drug crimes attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor to try to reduce your charges or get them dropped. Even before the case goes to trial, we will attempt to negotiate a plea for a lesser offense or avoid a criminal conviction entirely.
- Counter the prosecution’s moves: It takes a strategy-driven drug cases defense attorney to severely hinder the prosecutor’s ability to prove their case at trial. Our skilled team might use a series of pre-trial motions to have crucial evidence excluded. For instance, we will have any illegally obtained confessions or unlawfully seized drug paraphernalia excluded.
- Objective assessment of your case: Our drug defense team will accurately gauge the likelihood of success in the light of the evidence available. We will provide you with a risk analysis that objectively examines the strengths and weaknesses of your defense. Our attorney will also discuss whether and how to plead on the drug case if necessary.
- Strong representation at trial: Our committed drug crime attorney will do everything possible to help you eliminate or reduce your charges. We will build an effective legal strategy to avoid conviction. In a few situations where the prosecution has a very strong case (especially with a felony charge), the defendant’s best option may be to plead guilty for an easier sentence.
Under all circumstances, our aggressive and dedicated legal representation will be aimed at helping you avoid a harsh sentence or getting the criminal charges dismissed altogether.
Choose Our Trusted Drug Crime Defense Law Firm for the Best Legal Advice and Support
The experienced and highly rated criminal defense attorney from The Law Office of Purav Bhatt will be determined to mount a powerful defense to protect your rights. Attorney Bhatt is a former prosecutor in Cook County with a unique insight into drug cases and the workings of the court system. Other criminal defense lawyers do not have the same level of experience navigating the state and federal court and cannot get the same results.
Our skilled and resourceful team will work relentlessly to challenge the prosecution’s case against you. Our singular goal is having your charges dismissed or reduced as much as possible.
To schedule your consultation, call us at 773-791-9682 or fill out this online contact form.