The Serious Consequences of an Arrest on Cocaine Charges
Possession or delivery of cocaine is a felony charge in Illinois. Even small amounts of cocaine will yield a felony charge, which means things start out bad. Depending on the amount of cocaine involved, things can get worse from there. If you are convicted, steep fines and prison time are very real possibilities. To avoid these penalties and other serious consequences, you’re going to need experienced legal counsel.
Fines and jail time aren’t the only potential consequences of a cocaine arrest. Conviction on a felony drug charge has the potential to disrupt virtually every aspect of your life. If you are a licensed professional, such as a doctor, lawyer, or others, you could lose your license and be unable to practice in your chosen profession. Furthermore, a felony conviction is a record that won’t go away and could severely hamper your ability to get another job, or certainly another good job. Other consequences could include loss of your immigration visa or permanent resident card, denial of citizenship, or deportation. You could lose custody of your children or face restrictions on or loss of visitation rights. You could lose your right to vote, and even lose your right to own firearms.
If you are still in school, a conviction on drug charges will cost you any federal student aid for at least a year, including all federally subsidized loans, grants, scholarships, other aid programs, and participation in federally sponsored work-study programs.
The financial impact of a cocaine arrest starts right away. Even if you don’t lose your job or get suspended upon your arrest, you will have to post bail to get out of jail before trial. This could require you putting up your house as collateral, depending upon your resources. Also, you will have to pay for your defense, a cost that can run into tens of thousands of dollars. If you are convicted, you will face criminal fines, a strong possibility of losing your job even if you avoid prison time.
Avoiding prison time carries its own costs. If the court places you on probation, you stay out of prison, which is a preferable outcome. However, while you may still have suffered some of the other potential consequences of a cocaine conviction, you now face the burdens and costs of probation officer visits, possible participation in drug or alcohol rehabilitation programs, and, of course, paying the costs and fees for such programs on top of all court fees and costs. It can mount up.
Not All Impacts From a Felony Conviction Are Financial
As bad as the financial consequences of a cocaine arrest and conviction are, there are other potential consequences that are worse. If you are convicted and face jail or prison time, the loss of income can devastate your family. You also could lose security clearances required for your work. While this would include many sensitive government positions, it also includes such relatively mundane jobs as teaching, childcare work, and security.
The elephant in the room, though, is the criminal penalties. For larger amounts of cocaine, you could face fines of $500,000 or more, with that coming in addition to the years—potentially decades—that you could spend in prison. The larger the amount of cocaine that you are charged with of selling, delivering, manufacturing, trafficking, or possessing with the intent to deliver, the greater the penalties are. Even the low end of the punishment spectrum isn’t good. These penalties include:
- Possession of less than 15 grams of cocaine is punishable by up to a year in jail
- For possession of 15 grams to 100 grams, the punishment can be up to a $500,000 fine and/or 6 to 30 years in prison
- Possession of 100 to 400 grams can be punished with a fine that is either up to $500,000 or equal to the street value of the cocaine and/or 9 to 40 years in the penitentiary
- For possessing 400 to 900 grams of cocaine, the penalty can include a fine of $500,000 or up to the street value of the cocaine as well as 12 to 50 years in prison
- Possessing more than 900 grams of cocaine can get you a fine of $500,000 or up to the street value of the cocaine and 15 to 60 years in the penitentiary.
While most people facing cocaine charges aren’t drug kingpins, or even major street pushers, the penalties for possession of less than 15 grams are bad enough to severely disrupt anyone’s life, and the jail time and fines only get steeper after the first offense.
The Best Defense Is a Strong Offense
If you are arrested on cocaine charges, you need to take steps quickly to avoid the worst-case scenario—conviction, and all the negative consequences that entails. The first step you can take is to immediately invoke your right to an attorney. Then invoke your right to remain silent and decline to say anything to the police until your attorney is present. It is imperative that you take these two steps to avoid inadvertently giving the police information that could undermine your defense. And once you invoke your right to remain silent, stick to it. A natural inclination to answer questions is likely to hurt your case, not help it.
Once you have retained an attorney, cooperate with them fully. Your attorneys need to know everything about your case if they are to successfully fight the charges against you. There are many ways experienced defense attorneys can help you, from arguing for the court to impose a reasonable bail to examining your case for violations of your constitutional rights to finding lab errors or other technical errors that could hurt the case against you. Aggressively representing you at trial comes with the territory.
If You Were Arrested on Cocaine-Related Charges in DuPage, Kane, or Cook County, Consult the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Martin & Kent, L.L.C.
If you are arrested on cocaine charges, you are facing a felony conviction and all that carries with it. You want the best defense you can get, which means you should call the criminal attorneys of Martin & Kent, L.L.C. They have a combined 45 years of experience. Their experiences includes time as felony prosecutors, giving them an inside knowledge of the system. They will mount a tough and aggressive defense on your behalf and are committed to delivering the best possible result. For a consultation about a case in DuPage, Kane, or Cook County, contact them 24 hours a day at (630) 474-8000.
|DRUG CONVICTION FOR POSSESSION (felony or misdemeanor)||Under Student Aid Laws: Cannot obtain any government student aid, loans, or grants for one year after first conviction for possession, for two years after second conviction, and for an indefinite amount of time after third conviction.|
|DRUG CONVICTION FOR SALE (felony or misdemeanor)||Under Student Aid Laws: Cannot obtain any government student aid, loans, or grants for two years after first conviction and indefinite amount of time after second conviction.|