As a means to combat the rise in drug use in the state, Illinois take a strong stance against crimes involving drugs. The possession of a controlled substance could be evidence of personal use; however, it could also give the presumption of drug sales of trafficking. Thus, when an individual is accused of a drug possession crime, it is important that they understand the charges they are accused of, the factors that led to these charges and the potential penalties they could face.
When an individual is accused of unlawful possession, there are two distinct crimes that could stem from this allegation. The first is a charge for the mere possession of a controlled substance. The second is for the possession of the controlled substance with the intent to manufacture or deliver. The later is more severely punished than the former.
Elements of drug possession
In order to secure a conviction for drug possession, three elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. First, the identity of the substance in question must be proven to be a controlled substance. Second, the accused must have knowingly possessed the substance in question. Finally, the substance in question was in the accused’s immediate and exclusive control whether it is through actual or constructive possession.
The penalties for a drug possession charge are dependent on the substance and the quantity of the substance. Take heroin, for example. If an individual is in possession of 15 to 99 grams of heroine, he or she could face 4 to 15 years in prison. In contrast, if an individual is in possession of 900 grams or more of heroin, that could result in a sentence between 10 and 50 years.
Much like any other crime, those accused of drug possession have defense options. This includes lack of knowledge, proof of prescription medication, infancy, which applies to those under the age of 13, insanity, duress or compulsion and entrapment.
The defense options available to the accused are dependent on the circumstances and factors surrounding his or her matter. Thus, it is important to gain a better understand of one’s situation and criminal defense options, as this could help the accused reduce the penalties faced or even clear their name.