The state of Illinois is notoriously tough on drug crimes, and heroin possession is among the most severely punished of offenses. As little as.05 grams of heroin will turn in to a felony charge and one to three years in jail, along with a $25,000 fine. Those caught carrying only 15 grams of heroin face a mandatory sentence of at least four years in jail 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 dangerous substance, and possession of heroin is among the most serious of drug offenses. A charge of heroin possession could result in in the loss of your rights and 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 what is at stake, it is imperative you retain the assistance of an experienced heroin possession defense lawyer. At The Law Offices of David L. Freidberg, our legal team has devoted over 17 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 Illinois’ Heroin Possession Laws
The crime of heroin possession is set out in the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, 720 ILCS 570/402. This provision states that possession of any material that contains compounds found in heroin is illegal.
Heroin is classified a Schedule I narcotic. A Schedule I narcotic is a controlled substance that is defined as a substance that has a significant potential for abuse; and lacks any accepted medical use in the U.S. or does not provide an accepted and safe use with medical treatments with medical supervision. Please refer to ILCS 570/203. In other words, recreational drugs, such as heroin, are Schedule I because these drugs do not have any appropriate use in the medical field.Penalties for Heroin Possession in Illinois
The penalties for heroin possession will depend upon the amount of the heroin that was seized. A complete list of potential penalties is found in 720 ILCS 570/402. Here is a list of penalties by quantity:
- 0-15 grams—Class 4 felony, a 1 to 3-year sentence with fines of $25,000
- 15-100 grams—Class 1 felony, a minimum of 4 to 15 years in jail and fines of up to $200,000
- 100-400 grams—Class X felony, a minimum of 6 to 30 years in jail and fines of up to $200,000 or the street value of the drug
- 400-900 grams—Super Class X 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 X felony, a mandatory minimum of 10-50 years in prison and fines of up to $200,000 or the street value of the drug
In many Illinois criminal cases, individuals in possession of substantial amounts of heroin could also be charged with drug distribution charges. The charge of Delivery of Heroin is covered under 720 ILCS 570/401. The penalties for even a 1/2 a gram of heroin may result in a in a minimum three-year prison sentence. Distribution of only 16 grams is a Class X felony, which is the most serious charge in Illinois’s criminal code and could result in a prison sentence of 6 to 30 years. Also, those convicted of a Class X felony do not have an option for pleading their case penalties down to strictly probation.
Penalties will increase drastically if the offender is found in possession of or distributing heroin within 1500 feet of a school, place of worship, public park or movie theater. Further, if a firearm is present or discharged, severe penalties will ensue.
In addition to jail time and fines, if you are convicted of 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. An experienced drug defense lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of the unique circumstances 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 criminal code and statutes require that law enforcement to possess a valid search warrant in order to search your person or property or valid consent, unless there is a recognized exception. The possible exceptions to the law include search and frisks, whereas a law enforcement is permitted to pat down a suspect that he or she reasonably believes may be possessing a weapon. Also, police officers are permitted to search a vehicle as long as there is probable cause for the search. Many possession of heroin cases are defended by way of Fourth Amendment challenges. If your constitutional rights have been violated, your skilled defense attorney 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. 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: Offering Skilled and Experienced Defense Against Heroin Possession Charges
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 or your loved one with the strongest possibility of achieving the best possible outcome. Call or even text our firm at (312) 560-7100 or call our toll free number at (800) 803-1442, for your free case evaluation today.