What are the charges?

Illinois: There are two general categories for drug charges:

  1. Possession of Cannabis

This includes marijuana; also known as “weed” or “pot”, etc.

  1. Possession of a Controlled Substance

This includes heroin, cocaine, PCP, Ecstasy, and many other illegal drugs.

What is a controlled substance? All illegal drugs that are not cannabis/marijuana are classified as a controlled substance. The charges brought for drug offenses will vary based on the amount of the drug, how the illegal substance was used or packaged, whether the individual was armed, and if the individual is charged in state or federal court. The penalties or sentence for a drug offense can range from a drug program to probation, to state or federal prison time.

These are drugs that are commonly found, and for which arrests are made throughout Chicago (in no particular order):

  • Cocaine
  • Cannabis (Marijuana)
  • Heroin
  • Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) also known as “Ecstasy”
  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) also known as “acid”
  • Hashish
  • Opium
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Methamphetamines also known as “crystal meth”

It is also illegal to possess or sell prescription painkillers or stimulants without a prescription, not limited to, but such as:

  • OxyContin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Vicodin
  • Xanax
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Methadone


Due to the serious and severe consequences of being charged with and convicted of a drug offense, the decision to hire a criminal defense attorney can become a life altering decision. It is important that you consult with an attorney right away.

Potential Defenses

Potential Defenses to a drug charge include:

  • Failure to Read Miranda Warnings
  • Illegal Search or Seizure
  • Entrapment
  • Insufficient Evidence
  • Lack of Intent
  • Alibi
  • Mistaken Identity
  • Constitutional Issues

The best defense to a drug charge is challenging how the evidence was obtained by the police. Law enforcement authorities and prosecutors build their possession and manufacturing and delivering cases based on evidence obtained through search and seizures. Law enforcement must comply with the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution and well-established search and seizure laws to legally obtain evidence.

Potential Punishments

Some of the potential punishments for a drug charge are:

  • Jail or prison time
  • Probation, community control and/or curfew
  • Monetary Fines
  • Attendance of substance-abuse treatment program
  • Be subject to random drug testing
  • Be required to perform community service
  • Have your employment or military service status negatively affected
  • Have a permanent criminal record
  • Seizure or forfeiture of assets, land, and/or property


Possession of any controlled substance with a total weight of less than 15 grams is a Class 4 felony. The penalty may be 1-3 years in the Department of Corrections and a possible fine of up to $25,000