Understanding the Penalties of an Illinois Drug Possession Charge
Being arrested on drug charges can have a lasting impact on your life. Besides the cost of the charge itself, your job or livelihood could be placed at risk, and you may even lose government funding if you are attending or planning on going to college. Understand how the state of Illinois processes these charges, and what you can best do to protect yourself from the adverse consequences.
Drug Scheduling in Illinois
In Illinois, the penalties of a drug charge depend on several factors, including the assigned “schedule” of the drug you allegedly had in your possession. Based on the drug’s potential for abuse and whether or not they are considered approved for medical use, this schedule is as follows:
• Schedule I drugs: opiates and opium derivatives that have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use (heroin, LSD, ecstasy, etc.);
• Schedule II drugs: some accepted medical use, a high potential for abuse, and the propensity to cause severe psychological or physical dependence (Demerol, OxyContin, Percocet, etc.);
• Schedule III drugs: a lower potential for abuse and a moderate to low risk of physical or psychological dependence (Vicodin, Tylenol with Codeine, Suboxone, etc.);
• Schedule IV drugs: a low potential for abuse compared to other higher schedule drugs (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, etc.);
• Schedule V drugs: a low potential for abuse compared to other higher schedule drugs and primarily preparations that contain limited quantities of higher level narcotics (Robitussin AC, Codeine, Phenergan, etc.).
Other Factors Considered in Your Drug Possession Case
While the scheduling of the alleged drug is a major factor in determining the potential consequences of a drug charge, there are many other factors considered as well. Examples include the number of previous convictions and/or possession charges, the amount of the drug you were allegedly carrying, and your proximity to a school at the time of an arrest.
Possible Penalties of Drug Possession
Schedule I drugs often result in felony charges, which could lead to incarceration of anywhere from four to 50 years, depending on the amount you were allegedly carrying. However, there are exceptions. In contrast, lower schedule drugs are often considered misdemeanors, which typically results in a shorter sentence. Still, there are factors that could aggravate a lower schedule drug charge and increase your penalties.
Contact an Illinois Criminal Law Attorney
If you are facing a drug charge in Illinois, it is critical that you contact an attorney that understands how to defend your rights and mitigate your charges. At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we possess this knowledge, and we will take swift, aggressive action in your case. Get the representation you deserve. Contact an experienced Will County criminal defense attorney to schedule your confidential consultation today.