Criminal Drug Conspiracy
Under Illinois law, a person may be charged with criminal drug conspiracy without buying or selling drugs. In fact, a person may be charged with drug conspiracy without ever possessing the illegal drugs. There are many different acts that can trigger a legal action, pursuant to 720 ILCS 570/405.1. However, the person being charged must enter into an agreement with another person to commit the drug crime. There are two other related charges, which are: calculated criminal drug conspiracy and street gang criminal drug conspiracy. Although the circumstances under which charges may be brought are questionable, it is certain that a person who faces these types of criminal charges requires the services of an experienced Illinois defense attorney.
Attorney David L. Freidberg has spent nearly two decades fighting hard on behalf of his clients facing federal and state drug charges. At the Law Offices of David Freidberg, P.C., our attorneys and legal professionals have the skill and experience necessary to protect the constitutional rights of our clients. We take a multi-tiered approach to the defense, focusing on attacking the evidence and challenging the procedures used to gather that evidence. Attorney David Freidberg advocates tirelessly in order to preserve the rights and freedoms of his clients.Elements of Criminal Drug Conspiracy Charges
A conspiracy involves an agreement between two or more people to commit a crime. Conspiracies involving drug crimes are prosecuted aggressively by state and federal prosecutors. There is little distinction made between those who actively commit the crimes and those with the intent to engage in a criminal enterprise and take some act in furtherance of the crime. Criminal drug conspiracy charges can lead to a person being sent to prison for many years. In order to be convicted of the crime, a person must be shown to have acted with the intent engage in the following activities:
- Possess, manufacture, or deliver a controlled substance;
- Possess, manufacture, or deliver a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, public park, truck stop, or public housing complex; or
- Possess a controlled substance.
The accused individual must also be shown to have acted in agreement with another person about the commission of the offense. In order to be convicted, the person must be shown to have taken some action in furtherance of the conspiracy. This action must be beyond simple agreement to help another person with the movement of controlled substances. See 720 ILCS 570/405.1. The action that triggers conspiracy charges could be as simple as loaning another person a vehicle in order to help transport the illegal drugs.
The other drug conspiracy charges of calculated criminal drug conspiracy and street gang criminal drug conspiracy involve elements that result in an enhancement of the charges and more severe penalties. In order to be charged with calculated criminal drug conspiracy, a person must have received something of value in excess of $500.00, act as a financial resource for the conspiracy, or act in a position of leadership over the acts of the conspiracy. When a person is charged with street gang drug conspiracy, the individual must be a key member in a high-level position in a street gang. In order for a person to be convicted of the conspiracy crime, there does not have to be a conviction of the individuals involved in the actual possession, manufacture, or delivery of the illegal drugs.
Many times, criminal drug conspiracies involve far more than two individuals. When there is a large scale investigation, it may be difficult for investigating officers to determine what everyone’s role is in the criminal conspiracy, so the general rule is to arrest everyone, regardless of their level of involvement.Penalties for the Criminal Drug Conspiracy Charges
A person may face state or federal charges with this type of crime, depending on the agency that is leading the investigation. A person faces serious penalties, regardless of the nature of the charges. Federal charges generally carry more severe penalties. In addition, federal investigators have more resources available to develop a strong case.
Despite the fact that federal charges may involve longer prison terms and larger fines, a person being prosecuted under Illinois law still risks penalties that will alter the course of his life. When a person is convicted of criminal drug conspiracy charges, he faces the same penalties as he would if he were convicted of the offense that is at the center of the conspiracy activities.
A person who faces charges arising out of calculated criminal drug conspiracy risks conviction of a Class X felony. A first offense may lead to a prison sentence between six and 30 years and a fine of up to $500,000.00. If a person is charged with a subsequent offense, he may be sentenced to a prison term between 12 and 60 years. He also may be fined up to $1,000,000.00. See 720 ILCS 570/405.
If a person is convicted of street gang-related criminal drug conspiracy, it is considered a Class X felony. A first offense may lead to a prison term of between 10 and 60 years and a fine of $500,000.00, depending on the type of controlled substances that are involved in the drug transaction.Defending against Criminal Drug Conspiracy Charges
Investigators and prosecutors often are in a rush to bring drug-related charges. Often, they will charge everyone and then determine which cases are prosecutable. It is critical for a defendant to retain a strong criminal defense attorney who can tear apart the prosecutor’s case. The different defense strategies include:
- The defendant did not have the intent to commit a crime – a person who happens to be present in the vicinity of the commission of a drug crime without any intent to act in furtherance of the conspiracy is not guilty of conspiracy;
- The evidence does not support the charge;
- The investigating officers violated the defendant’s constitutional rights during the investigation and collection of evidence;
- The witness testimony was false; or
- The arresting officers did not have probable cause to take the actions that they did.
These are just a few of the possible defenses that can be raised in this type of case, which will vary depending on the unique circumstances of each case.David L. Freidberg Defends Those Charged with Criminal Drug Conspiracy
There are many times when a person finds himself swept up in an investigation into drug activities without any intent to commit a crime. Chicago conspiracy charges are a tool for prosecutors to round up as many people as possible and then pressure individuals into offering evidence and testimony against others in order to lessen the charges that they face. It is critical to have an attorney who knows how to aggressively challenge the elements of the prosecution’s case. David L. Freidberg has spent almost 20 years fighting for the rights of his clients. At the Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, P.C., our experienced attorneys will sit down with you in order to learn about the charges that you face and determine the best way to defend against them.Contact the office at (312) 560-7100 or (800) 803-1442 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org in order to schedule an initial appointment. We are available 24/7 and will always respond to your inquiry quickly.