We Are Prepared to Face the Toughest Charges
Many people face drug charges in Chicago’s western suburbs—in DuPage County, it’s between 449 and 670 per 100,000 residents, while in Kane County it’s between 238 and 449 per 100,000. Cook County, dominated by Chicago, has one of the state’s highest drug arrest rates—between 915 and 1,209 per 100,000.
These charges are often accompanied by harsh prosecution and serious penalties. With your future on the line, you cannot afford to delay seeking an attorney who can listen to your case and protect your interests. Get in touch with Martin & Kent, L.L.C., to start your case with lawyers who are qualified to represent clients in the most difficult situations.
Not sure who to choose? Here are some reasons to consider our firm:
- Our attorneys have handled more than 10,000 cases
- We have more than 42 years of combined experience
- As former prosecutors, we know what it takes to build a strong case
- We can take your calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Our legal team understands the urgency of your situation. When you contact us, we will not waste any time helping you set up an effective case. We provide free initial consultations, and if you decide to work with us, our drug crime lawyers will begin analyzing your case to determine the best line of defense. Call us today to learn how we can help you!
How Are Drug Charges Determined?
Under state law, drugs fall into various categories based on their medical value and the likelihood that use of the drug will lead to substance abuse or addiction. Under this classification system, Schedule V drugs are the least harmful and lead to the lightest charges, while Schedule I drugs are considered highly dangerous and are often handled on felony terms.
With this in mind, your charges can be influenced by a number of factors:
- The specific drug associated with your charges
- The amount of the substance in question
- The discovery of drug paraphernalia
- Additional charges, such as delivery of the drug
Common Penalties for Drug Crimes
The Illinois Controlled Substances Act has led to an increased focus on penalizing possession and distribution of various substances. It is important to realize that charges for these crimes can quickly escalate, especially when substances such as heroin or ecstasy are involved. Even crimes involving marijuana can escalate to the felony level under certain circumstances.
With such charges, you may be at risk for the following:
- Mandatory minimum incarceration
- Months or years of additional sentencing
- Fines totaling thousands of dollars
- Probation and rehabilitation
Drug charges are especially difficult because they are often founded on the direct discovery of drugs or paraphernalia. Fortunately, this type of evidence does not guarantee a conviction. An experienced lawyer can help you prove your lack of knowledge in the matter, or defend your Fourth Amendment rights after an unlawful search or seizure. To learn more about your situation and your options as a defendant, call Martin & Kent, L.L.C. today.
Drug Charges in Illinois
While each drug-related criminal case will revolve around the possession of a controlled substance, the circumstances in each case, including the charges, evidence, options, and possible penalties, can vary significantly. For example, police may stop a college student while driving and discover he has a marijuana joint in the vehicle. On the other hand, police officers may go undercover to infiltrate a large drug ring engaging in a high-value heroin trafficking operation.
In either situation, drug charges can have a serious effect on your life, even seemingly minor cases. No case is too small or too serious for our drug crime defense lawyers to handle. We know that you deserve the highest quality of representation for even simple possession charges, and we are here to limit the effects on your future. The following are only some examples of drug charges we regularly handle:
Possession of marijuana – Under the Cannabis Control Act, possession of marijuana can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the amount possessed and other factors. Even for a Class C misdemeanor charge for simple possession of up to 2.5 grams, you can face fines up to $1,500 and 30 days in jail. The penalties escalate quickly the more marijuana involved.
Felony drug possession – The possession of most other controlled substances is a felony offense in Illinois, even for small amounts. Possessing certain quantities of the following drugs can result in Class 1 felony charges:
- Barbituric acid
- Any other Schedule I or II narcotic
Class 1 felony charges are extremely serious and can result in up to 15 years in prison and fines of $25,000. Judges can extended prison sentences for particularly large amounts of drugs for up to 50 years in some situations.
Possession with intent to deliver/distribute – Police officers do not have to witness a drug sale to infer that you intended to sell the drugs you possessed. Prosecutors often file charges for possession with the intent to deliver, and the penalties are the same as if you actually sold the drugs.
They base these charges on circumstantial evidence they believe proves you were going to sell or transfer the drugs. Such evidence can include possessing a large quantity of a substance, having drugs individually packaged for easy sale, having large amounts of cash, possession measuring supplies or scales, and more. Depending on the type and amount of drugs possessed, this is often a Class 1 felony charge, which means a possible 15 years or more in prison. Judges can also enhance fines for this offense, often up to $250,000 or more.
Drug trafficking – The Illinois Controlled Substance Act aims to punish people from bringing controlled substances into the state for the purposes of distribution. Trafficking charges often stem from larger drug operations or cartels, however, even minor players in these operations can face severe trafficking charges. You do not have to be the person actually transporting drugs to face a long prison sentence and fines. For substances like heroin, morphine, fentanyl, and similar drugs, you can face Class X felony charges for trafficking even 15 grams, which is the most serious felony aside from murder. Class X felony charges can mean 30 to 60 years in prison, depending on the amount of drugs in question.
You should also realize that there are many aggravating factors that can enhance a prison sentence for drug-related charges. Such factors include:
- Being near a school, park, or public housing
- Distributing drugs to a minor
- Possessing a firearm
- Using a cell phone for trafficking purposes
Your attorney should know how to defend against both the underlying charges and any aggravating factors the prosecutor alleges in your case. At Martin & Kent, we regularly fight allegations in complicated drug-related cases, and we’re here to discuss your rights and options.
Handling All Stages of Your Drug-Related Case
Like any criminal case, drug cases have many stages before they reach a resolution. Our criminal defense lawyers guide our clients through each step of the process, ensuring that you fully understand your options at every turn. We assist clients with the following and more:
- Investigations – Some drug cases begin with an investigation by police officers. If the police ask to speak with you, call our office first so you can have proper legal representation during questioning.
- Arrest – When officers arrest you, they will read your Miranda rights, including your right to an attorney. You should always take this opportunity to call a skilled Illinois defense lawyer before you ever answer any questions from officers.
- Bail – Many people arrested on drug charges have bail set by the court. We can represent you at your bail hearing to argue for the court to reduce your bail whenever possible so that you do not have to wait behind bars during your case.
- Pleading not guilty – You should never plead guilty to an offense before you explore all of your options and our attorneys thoroughly review the facts of the case. We have many ways to limit the consequences in drug cases, and pleading guilty from the beginning will almost always result in unnecessarily harsh outcomes.
- Plea bargaining – Prosecutors will often negotiate with defense attorneys to reduce charges or penalties in exchange for a guilty plea. We carefully review each option and its implications with our clients when a plea agreement is a possibility.
- Trial – We know how to aggressively and skillfully fight against wrongful charges at trial. Our lawyers will identify any possible defense to present to the court and/or the jury.
The above is only a brief overview of our drug crime defense services. We do everything in our power to protect your rights and build an effective defense strategy to avoid any penalties that are overly harsh.
Retain a Top-Rated Legal Firm
At Martin & Kent, L.L.C., we are well aware of the devastating penalties you could face for a drug offense. We also understand the difference a qualified attorney can make in your case. Our team, consisting of a former president of the Criminal Defense Bar Association and a recipient of the 2013 Top Lawyers in Illinois Award, has a reputation for legal excellence in criminal defense cases. When you retain our firm, we will do whatever it takes to secure a positive result on your behalf. Call us at (630) 474-8000 for your free consultation. We serve clients in DuPage, Kane, and Cook Counties.