In Illinois, the charge of drug trafficking carries with it very serious consequences, including prison time and hefty monetary fines. There is a presumption of trafficking in a drug if the person is found to be in possession of a specific weight or worth of drugs or a certain number of plants. Trafficking charges often involve penalties that are twice as serious as the manufacture of marijuana (growing), the possession with the intent to deliver, or actual delivery. A person may be charged with trafficking if he brings even a small amount of marijuana into Illinois. Pursuant to Illinois law, 720 ILCS 570/401.1, a person may be charged with trafficking if he knowingly brings into the state, or knowingly causes to be brought into the state, marijuana with the intent to manufacture or deliver it.
Drug trafficking often is charged as a federal offense. Many times, a person is charged with this crime after being stopped for a traffic violation on a highway or toll road where the law enforcement officer discovers the drugs after making the stop. If you have been stopped and the officer discovered drugs in your vehicle, or there is evidence that you intended to manufacture or deliver marijuana/cannabis, then you could be facing serious charges. As such, it is crucial to retain the right Chicago defense attorney as soon as possible, particularly since there are many ways to challenge the drug discovery during a traffic stop.
At The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C., we are ready to fight aggressively in order to defend your rights to the fullest extent. As an attorney, David Freidberg has spent more than 20 years advocating tenaciously for his clients. He understands how to break down the elements of the case in order to develop the right legal strategy, whether that is challenging the constitutionality of the stop, disputing the evidence, or revealing the flaws in the legal charges. David Freidberg works tirelessly to get the best possible results for his clients.State Penalties for Sale of Cannabis/Marijuana
It is important to realize that there are different regulations in the State of Illinois for the possession, manufacture, or delivery of marijuana as compared with other controlled substances. However, trafficking charges carry serious penalties for all controlled substances, including marijuana/cannabis, even where there is a relatively small amount of drugs in the person’s possession. Pursuant to 720 ILCS 570/401, there are many different levels of penalties for the trafficking of marijuana. The possession of 2.5 grams of marijuana or less with the intent to sell, or the actual sale of marijuana in this amount is a Class B misdemeanor, which may result in a penalty of a fine of up to $1,500 and a jail term of up to six months.
A person who is in possession of between 2.5 grams and 10 grams of marijuana with the intent to sell it, or who actually sells this amount of marijuana, may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor and face penalties of fines and up to one year in jail. A person who is in possession of between 10 and 30 grams of marijuana with the intent to sell it, or who actually sells marijuana in this amount, may be charged with a Class 4 felony and faces penalties of a prison term of one to three years and a fine of up to $25,000.
These penalties continue to increase as the amount of drugs in the individual’s possession grows. If a person is in possession of more than 5,000 grams of marijuana, it is charged as a Class X felony, with a potential maximum jail term of 60 years in prison. Fines can exceed $500,000 and are based on the amount of drugs in the possession of the person being charged.Federal Penalties for the Trafficking of Marijuana
Often, trafficking is charged as a federal crime, although this is going to depend on the specific facts of the case. The penalties for trafficking in marijuana in a federal court include the following:
- A person who is arrested in possession of less than 50 kilograms of marijuana or up to 49 plants may face penalties of five years in prison and fines of up to $250,000. If more than one person is involved in the trafficking of marijuana, then the fine may be increased to one million dollars;
- A person who is arrested with between 50 and 99 kilograms of marijuana or between 50 and 99 plants may be sentenced to up to 20 years and may have to pay a fine up to one million dollars. If more than one person is involved in the trafficking of marijuana, then the fine may be increased to five million dollars;
- A person who is arrested with between 100 and 999 kilograms of marijuana or between 100 and 999 plants may face between five and 40 million in prison and a fine of up to five million dollars. If more than one person is involved in the trafficking of marijuana, then the fine may be increased to 25 million dollars; and
- A person who is arrested with more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana or more than 1,000 plants may face a prison term of 10 years to life and a fine of up to ten million dollars. If more than one person is involved in the trafficking of marijuana, then the fine may be increased to 50 million dollars.
When a person is charged with a second offense, the penalties increase significantly. Whether or not a search and seizure incident to a traffic stop is charged as a state or federal crime will depend on the circumstances of the stop and seizure.Exposing Issues with the Traffic Stop
When a person is pulled over in a traffic stop and the officer finds marijuana/cannabis that may lead to trafficking charges, there are a number of ways to challenge the stop, including the following:
- Did the law enforcement officer have probable cause to make the traffic stop? Many times, the stop was because the officer was suspicious without having any valid basis for pulling over the vehicle;
- Was the search and seizure unreasonable? There are state and federal protections in place to prevent searches and seizures that are not reasonable based on the totality of the facts and circumstances;
- Was there a search of the personal possessions or the individual being pulled over that were not incident to an arrest through which the drugs were found?
- Did the arresting officer bring in a canine team trained in drug searches?
Many times, there are numerous ways to challenge the search and seizure of the drugs, which is why it is critical to hire an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney. One of the most common challenges when the officer uses a canine team to detect the drugs is that the time period in which the officer was waiting for the canine team was too long to meet the reasonability standards in place. Although the investigating officer does have the right to bring in a drug-sniffing canine to walk around the vehicle and sniff for marijuana and controlled substances, there are limitations. The fact that a drug dog alerts for the presence of marijuana or other controlled substance does provide the police with probable cause to search the vehicle. However, the length of time that the officer executing the stop makes a driver wait for the canine team to appear at the scene does impact the legitimacy of the search.
There may be justification to contest the search and seizure if the wait for the canine team takes longer than it takes the officer to conduct a review of the vehicle and driver information and issue a traffic citation. Once this time has been exceeded, a person may request the right to leave. If the officer refuses this request, then the individual may assert his right to remain silent and to have an attorney present. He also may refuse to consent to the dog sniff inspection of the vehicle – many times an officer will ignore this refusal. An officer’s failure to comply with this refusal may be grounds for the court to dismiss the case or at least deem the evidence inadmissible that was discovered through the vehicle search after a drug dog alert.David L. Freidberg Advocates Aggressively for Those Charged with Cannabis Trafficking
A person who faces drug trafficking charges, whether on the state or federal level, risks significant prison time and extremely hefty fines. Even when that individual gets out of prison, the impact on his life is tremendous. Friends and family often are alienated, employment opportunities are limited, and even housing may be difficult to find. It is important to have the right attorney fighting on your behalf from the beginning of the case. David L. Freidberg has spent nearly two decades working hard to get the best possible results for his clients. He attacks each case from a factual and procedural standpoint, looking for flaws in the case and errors in the investigative officer’s actions. In order to discuss the charges that you are facing and develop the right legal strategy, it is crucial to contact the Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C. and his experienced Illinois Criminal Defense Team by calling the office at (312) 560-7100 or (800) 803-1442 or contact our office by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The consultation is FREE and we are available 24/7 for your convenience.