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3 key factors in determining drug possession charges

If you potentially face charges from an upcoming drug possession case, the consequences it can have on your life are severe. You could be paying thousands of dollars, face years of imprisonment and find it nearly impossible to land a job once the whole ordeal is over.

The court determines your conviction based on different areas of the offense. Even the slightest difference can determine whether you spend 4 or 40 years in prison. Before you head to court, it is essential to know the various factors that can determine your sentence.

What drugs were you possessing?

It varies whether the drugs that were allegedly in your possession could classify as a misdemeanor or felony. For example, it is a misdemeanor if they catch you with anabolic steroids. The worst you receive is 30 day imprisonment and up to $1,500 in fines. While it’s still something you want to avoid, it is nowhere close to the punishments receivable through felonies.

Most of the well-known controlled substances count towards felonies. Some of these include amphetamine, cocaine, heroin, LSD, morphine and Quaaludes. Even though the majority of these are Class 1 felonies, some will have harsher sentences than others. For example, if you are charged of possessing over 200 grams of peyote, the worst you can receive is between 4 to 15 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. The severity of the punishment for possessing specific drugs will depend on the next factor.

How many grams did you have?

While certain felonies have a set limit for what the court can charge you with, possessing well-known substances such as heroin, cocaine or morphine can land you extraordinarily high fines and prison sentences. The amount you carry determines how much you pay (which can be up to $200,000) and how long your imprisonment is.

  • 15g-99 grams: Between 4-15 years
  • 100g-399 grams: Between 6-30 years
  • 400g-899 grams: Between 6-40 years
  • 900+ grams: Between 10-50 years

The Illinois Cannabis Control Act determines that the amount of marijuana you possess can be the difference between a Class C misdemeanor and a Class 1 felony.

What was the intent?

As if potentially serving decades in prison and owing thousands of dollars was not bad enough, the charges increase if the court finds you guilty of intending to distribute those drugs. This federal offense combines with any possession punishment, so that means potentially more prison time and money you owe.

However, your intention could also possibly lessen the sentence. If you successfully plead to the court that you lack knowledge of the substances or they belong to someone else, then the severity of the punishment could lessen. It is important to explore your defense options to avoid any life ruining charges you can receive from a drug possession conviction.

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