The Significance of Knowingly in Possession of Drugs
In previous posts, we have discussed the two different types of drug possession criminal charges in Illinois: actual possession and constructive possession. Understanding the difference between these two charges is vital for knowing how to defend against such charges. It is also very important for Illinois residents accused of drug possession to understand how the word “knowingly” is used in the law. In order for prosecutors to convict a criminal defendant of a drug-related charge, they must prove several elements are true, including that the defendant knew he or she was in possession of drugs. If prosecutors cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant intentionally had possession of an illicit substance, the defendant may be cleared of the charges.
Actual Possession and Constructive Possession
A criminal defendant in Illinois is charged with actual possession when he or she is found in physical possession of a controlled substance. For example, if police find a baggie of cocaine in a defendant’s pocket or purse, this is likely an actual possession of a controlled substance offense. On the other hand, constructive possession of a controlled substance refers to situations in which a person does not have the drugs on his or her person, but there are drugs in a location that he or she has control over.
For example, if police officers search a defendant’s vehicle and find illicit substances in it, the defendant will likely be charged with constructive possession. The criminal penalties for possession of a controlled substance can vary depending on the type of substance found in the defendant’s possession and how much of the substance was found.
Prosecutors Must Prove a Defendant “Knew” Several Things About the Substance
The Illinois Controlled Substance Act reads, “it is unlawful for any person knowingly to possess a controlled or counterfeit substance or controlled substance analog.” The word “knowingly” is one of the most important parts of this law. In order for a possession charge to result in a conviction, prosecutors must prove that the suspect knew the substance in question was an illegal drug and that the suspect knew he or she was in possession of the substance.
Contact a Will County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a drug-related crime in Illinois, you could be facing jail time. Speak with an experienced Will County drugs crimes defense lawyer immediately. Call 815-740-4025 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with Attorney Jack L. Zaremba today.