Bridgeview Drug Crimes Attorneys Provide Strong Defense Against Charges

Capable counsel skilled in representing defendants in Illinois controlled substance cases

Drug offenses, such as manufacturing, distribution and possession, are subject to severe penalties under Illinois law and can carry other serious consequences. In addition to fines and jail time, a conviction can affect your employment and educational opportunities and make you ineligible for loans, grants and other benefits. At Skinner Law Firm, P.C. in Bridgeview, we have wide experience representing Illinois clients against various types and levels of drug charges and can provide the thorough and well-executed defense you need.

Skilled attorney explains scope of Illinois controlled dangerous substance laws

Illinois law categorizes controlled dangerous substances (CDS) according to five “schedules” based upon their potential for abuse and addiction and whether they have accepted medical uses:

  • Schedule I — These drugs have a high potential for abuse and no accepted or safe medical use, such as heroin, cocaine, morphine and certain opium derivatives as well as hallucinogens.
  • Schedule II — Within this category are drugs, such as coca leaves and opium, with accepted medical uses but also a high potential for abuse and the possibility of severe psychological and physical dependence.
  • Schedule III — Anabolic steroids are examples of drugs that have accepted medical uses, but some potential for abuse and for low or moderate physical dependence and high psychological dependence.
  • Schedule IV — This category includes benzodiazepines and other drugs with accepted medical uses that have a lower potential for abuse and limited causation of psychological and physical dependence.
  • Schedule V — Prescription medications containing small amounts of narcotic drugs are considered to have the lowest potential for abuse and likely to cause limited physical or psychological dependence.

Drug crimes may be prosecuted as felonies or misdemeanors depending upon the type and quantity of CDS and the specific conduct involved. The most serious felonies are trafficking — defined as knowingly bringing a CDS into the state for the purpose of delivery — and conspiracy to traffic. CDS manufacture, including operation of a methamphetamine laboratory, is also a major felony. Sale of drugs and possession with intent to sell is also punished severely, and more so if occurs in a school zone.

 Even possession of CDS alone can result in lengthy incarceration and stiff fines. Schedule I drug possession, for example, is punishable by prison terms of:

  • Four to 15 years for 15 to 99 grams
  • Six to 30 years for 100 to 399 grams
  • Eight to 40 years for 400 to 899 grams
  • Ten to 50 years for 900 grams or more

In addition, the defendant can be fined up to $200,000 or the street value of the CDS, whichever is higher.

Possession of marijuana or any other cannabis-containing substance can be a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the amount. Penalties range from up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,500 for possession of 2.5 grams or less (Class C misdemeanor) to four to 15 years and a fine of up to $25,000 for possession of more than 5,000 grams (Class 1 felony).

We work diligently to get drug charges dropped or to seek acquittals, challenging whenever possible the police officers’ methods of obtaining evidence and moving to suppress its use on constitutional grounds. When it is consistent with protecting your interests, we will pursue plea bargains for lesser charges or explore eligibility for diversionary drug treatment programs in lieu of incarceration. If necessary, we will provide a vigorous criminal defense in the courtroom.

Knowledgeable advocate challenges drug charges arising from traffic stops

Many drug arrests stem from traffic stops for unrelated reasons, such as speeding or other moving violation, which lead to police suspicion of illegal drug activity. The police need probable cause to search the vehicle without your consent, but many drivers consent to a search without knowing that they have the option to say no. If you refuse to consent to the search and the police officer performs one anyway, the search might be illegal. The original traffic stop may be improper if police lacked reasonable suspicion. If drugs are discovered in the vehicle or on a passenger, you may have other defenses, such as lack of knowledge of their presence. Whatever the circumstances, we will raise all possible challenges to the search, seizure and arrest and fight to have the charges dismissed or reduced.

Contact a trusted Illinois drug crimes lawyer for a free initial consultation

If you are charged with a drug offense, Skinner Law Firm, P.C. will provide the effective representation you need. We have been defending clients throughout the Cook County area for 20 years, and we are ready to put that experience to work for you. Please call 312-852-9937 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation at our Bridgeview, office.