Chicago Cannabis Defense Lawyer

Charged with possession, delivering, or manufacturing?

Cannabis use is popular throughout the country. Despite society's evolving attitude, Cannabis remains illegal in Illinois without a medical marijuana card. In Illinois, cannabis charges usually occur in two broad categories: possession under 720 ILCS 550/4, or manufacturing/delivering/possessing with intent to deliver under 720 ILCS 550/5.

Possessing cannabis without evidence of selling it is known as "simple possession." You likely will be charged with simple possession of cannabis if you have a small amount, in one bag or container, and no scale is nearby.

On the other hand, you likely will be charged with manufacturing/delivering/possessing with intent to deliver cannabis if you have a large amount, have multiple bags or containers, or a scale is nearby. Obviously, if you deliver to an undercover officer or an informant, you will be charged with delivery.

Regardless of whether you are charged with simple possession or something more, the government has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you knowingly possessed the cannabis. As with all drug charges, you cannot be convicted of possessing something of which you were unaware. Additionally, even if you knowingly possessed the drugs, the evidence may be suppressed if law enforcement disregarded the Constitution in order to arrest you.

The public's opinion toward cannabis is changing. Illinois, for example, was the 20th state to allow qualified persons to possess medical marijuana. Further reforms seem inevitable. Until these reforms become law, however, illegally possessing or distributing cannabis can still result in significant prison time and large fines.

Illinois Penalties for Possession of Cannabis

The penalties for possession of cannabis vary depending on the quantity and any previous cannabis convictions:

  • Possession of not more than 10 grams of cannabis is a civil violation punishable by a fine of up to $200.
  • Possession of more than 10 grams but not more than 30 grams of cannabis is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $1,500.
  • Possession of more than 30 grams but not more than 100 grams of cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $2,500. A second conviction is a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1-3 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
  • Possession of more than 100 grams but not more than 500 grams of cannabis is a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1-3 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. A second conviction is a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2-5 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
  • Possession of more than 500 grams but not more than 2,000 grams of cannabis is a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2-5 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
  • Possession of more than 2,000 grams but not more than 5,000 grams of cannabis is a Class 2 felony, punishable by 3-7 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
  • Possession of more than 5,000 grams of cannabis is a Class 1 felony, punishable by 4-15 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.

Illinois Penalties for Manufacturing/Delivering/Possessing
with Intent to Deliver Cannabis

The penalties for manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with intent to deliver cannabis vary depending on the amount but are more severe than simple possession:

  • Not more than 2.5 grams of cannabis is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine up to $1,500.
  • More than 2.5 grams but not more than 10 grams of cannabis is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.
  • More than 10 grams but not more than 30 grams of cannabis is a Class 4 felony, punishable by 1-3 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000.
  • More than 30 grams but not more than 500 grams of cannabis is a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2-5 years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
  • More than 500 grams but not more than 2,000 grams of cannabis is a Class 2 felony, punishable by 3-7 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
  • More than 2,000 grams but not more than 5,000 grams of cannabis is a Class 1 felony, punishable by 4-15 years in prison and a fine up to $150,000.
  • More than 5,000 grams of cannabis is a Class X felony, punishable by 6-30 years in prison and a fine up to $200,000. Probation is not an option for Class X felonies.

Alternatives to a Prison Sentence

Attorney Thomas Hallock's primary goal is always to obtain a complete dismissal of the client's charges or a not guilty verdict at trial. If this is not an option, his fallback position is to obtain court supervision or placement in a deferred-prosecution program. Both options give the client the opportunity to avoid incarceration and dispose of the charges without a conviction.

Some examples of deferred-prosecution programs include:

  • Drug School: Drug school is a program in Cook County that allows clients charged with simple possession to avoid a conviction. To qualify, the client must have no felony convictions, and no misdemeanor convictions for drug dealing or a violent crime. The client attends 4 drug-education classes, which take place weekly and are 2.5 hours each. After completing the classes, the client becomes eligible to have the case dismissed.
  • 2nd-Chance Probation: 2nd-Chance Probation is for clients charged with non-violent felonies. To qualify, the client must have no felony convictions, no convictions for a violent crime, and no previous placement in a deferred-prosecution program. Treatment for substance abuse is often part of the program. Successful completion of the program allows the client to avoid incarceration and to dispose of the felony charge without a conviction.
  • TASC Probation (Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities): TASC probation is a program designed to encourage clients to address the root cause of their behavior. TASC case-managers prepare individualized plans to help participants overcome their personal challenges and make better choices. Treatment for substance abuse is often a central focus. Under TASC probation, the judge enters a conviction against the client when they enter TASC but vacates the conviction upon successful completion of the program. Acceptance into TASC is often denied, but a skilled defense attorney can improve your chances of being admitted into the program.
  • Drug Court: Drug court is a program for clients charged with non-violent felonies that have addiction issues. Drug court provides clients with counseling, drug screening, and drug treatment. Regular court monitoring helps clients stay on track. Successful completion of the program results in a reduction of the sentence or even a dismissal of the charges. Most important, however, is that clients leave the program with the ability to live free from addiction.

Contact Thomas C. Hallock if you need a skilled and committed cannabis defense attorney in Chicago.
Call (888) 412-3741 to begin a free case evaluation.

HELPFUL TIPS FROM ME TO YOU

HOW TO PROPERLY EXERCISE YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

What You Should Do

  • Be respectful at all times.
  • Calmly record the interaction.
  • Ask if you are free to leave. If you do not ask, the officer may think—and the judge may agree—that the interaction was consensual.
  • If you are free to leave, go! If you are not free to leave, respectfully but firmly ask to speak with your lawyer.

What You Should Not Do

  • Do not physically resist arrest.
  • Do not become aggressive or confrontational.
  • Do not consent to a search. The Constitution does not apply if you consent.
  • Do not answer questions without first speaking with your attorney. Police are allowed to hold you for 48 hours and they may lie to you the entire time.

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