Aggressive Defense Against the Most Serious of Drug Charges—Illinois Heroin Possession Lawyer
The State of Illinois is notoriously tough on drug crimes, and heroin possession is among the most severely punished of drug crimes. Possession of as little as .05 grams of heroin will result in a felony charge and the possibility of one to three years in prison, along with a $25,000 fine. Those caught carrying only 15 grams of heroin face a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison and a maximum possible sentence of 15 years. Fines of up to $200,000 may additionally be imposed.
Heroin is considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance, and possession of heroin is among the most serious of drug offenses. A charge of possession of heroin can result in loss of your freedom for years or even decades, the inability to find a job due to the felony conviction on your record, and an uncertain future fraught with many struggles as you attempt to navigate through life with a heroin possession conviction in your past. Given the high stakes of this offense, it is imperative you retain the assistance of an experienced drug defense attorney. At The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, we have devoted over 20 years to representing those facing grim narcotics charges. Our attorney team will meticulously examine the facts of your case and zealously mount the strongest possible defense.Overview of Heroin Possession Laws in Illinois
The crime of possession of heroin is set out in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, 720 ILCS 570/402 . Under this provision, possession of any substance containing the compounds present in heroin is illegal.
Heroin is considered a Schedule I drug. A Schedule I controlled substance is defined as a substance that 1) has a high potential for abuse; and 2) has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S. or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision. See ILCS 570/203. Generally, all recreational drugs, like heroin, fall under Schedule I because they have no accepted medical use.Penalties for Possession of Heroin in Illinois
Possible penalties for possession of heroin will depend upon the quantity of the drug seized. A complete list of potential penalties is found in 720 ILCS 570/402 . The following is a breakdown of penalties per drug quantity:
- 0-15 grams —Class 4 felony, 1-3 year sentence and fines of $25,000
- 15-100 grams —Class 1 felony, a mandatory minimum of 4-15 years in prison and fines of up to $200,000
- 100-400 grams —Class 1 felony, a mandatory minimum of 6-30 years in prison and fines of up to $200,000 or the street value of the drug
- 400-900 grams —Class 1 felony, a mandatory minimum of 8-40 years in prison and fines of up to $200,000 or the street value of the drug
- Over 900 grams —Class 1 felony, a mandatory minimum of 10-50 years in prison and fines of up to $200,000 or the street value of the drug
Frequently, those found in possession of large amounts of heroin will be charged with distribution of the drug. The crime of Delivery of Heroin is detailed in 720 ILCS 570/401 . Under this crime, delivery of even a half a gram is a Class 2 felony and can result in a mandatory minimum three year sentence. Distribution of just 15 grams is considered a Class X felony, the most serious under Illinois law, and will result in a sentence of between 6 and 30 years. Probation is not an option for defendants convicted of a Class X felony.
Penalties will increase drastically if the offender is found in possession of or distributing heroin within 1000 feet of a school, place of worship, public park or movie theater. Further, if a firearm is present or discharged, more severe penalties will ensue.
In addition to jail time and fines, a conviction for possession of heroin will have lasting repercussions on one’s career. A possession of heroin conviction will create a permanent felony record for the defendant. These convictions often cannot be expunged or sealed. The conviction will be transmitted nationwide by the Illinois State Police Bureau of Identification and can be discovered by all employers. Further, students are not eligible for any government student aid, loans, or grants for one year after their first drug possession conviction.Effective Defense Against Possession of Heroin Charges
Though heroin possession charges are among the most serious of drug offenses, the charge is defensible and one should not feel that all hope is lost. A knowledgeable drug defense attorney will conduct a thorough investigation of the facts of the case, evaluating all weaknesses in the prosecution’s evidence and exhuming any exculpatory evidence. Possible defenses will hinge greatly on your individual case, but some of the most common include:
- Fourth Amendment Challenges—the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits illegal searches and seizures. Illinois law requires that police officers have either a valid search warrant in order to search your person or property or valid consent, unless a recognized exception exists. Some exceptions include search and frisks, wherein a police officer can pat down a suspect that he or she reasonably believes may be armed. Additionally, officers can search a vehicle with probable cause. Many heroin possession cases hold the potential for Fourth Amendment challenges. If your constitutional rights have been violated, your Chicago attorney David L. Freidberg can file a motion to suppress evidence based on the illegal search and seizure.
- Challenging the element of possession-- to obtain a conviction for heroin possession, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had physical dominion and control over the substance. Illinois courts have recognized what is known as construction possession, wherein a person will be found in possession of a controlled substance if they know of its presence and have the intent and capability to maintain control and possession of it, or have exclusive control of the area where the controlled substance in located. Those who were merely in the presence of the heroin, such as car passengers, can make a strong challenge to the requisite element of constructive possession.
- Challenging the validity of the search warrant— a valid search warrant must 1) be filed in good faith by law enforcement officer; 2) be based on reliable information showing probable cause to search; and 3) be issued by a neutral and detached magistrate or judge. Experienced defense attorneys can examine the affidavit supporting the search warrant and look for any fatal defects. Often, search warrants are issued based on information supplied by anonymous tipsters or confidential informants. Sometimes warrants supported by only this information will not be deemed sufficient as it fails to establish probable cause.
The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg offers superior legal services to those facing the charge of possession of heroin. Attorney David Freidberg understands the devastating potential a heroin possession conviction can have on your life and future. Mr. Freidberg and his talented attorney staff will fight tirelessly to see you avoid conviction. At our office, we believe effective representation starts with careful investigation and thorough research of the applicable law. Armed with an in-depth knowledge of all the facts of your case, we can craft a zealous defense that provides you with the strongest possibility of achieving the best possible outcome. Contact us today at (312) 560-7100 or toll free at 1 (800) 803-1442 to schedule your free consultation today. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for you convenience.