Former State's Attorney With Over 38 Years of Experience

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Chicago, Illinois Residents Need To Take Prescription Drug Charges Seriously

This is the second post in my series on defending against prescription drug crimes in the Chicago area. As I mentioned in my initial post, the penalties for these crimes in Illinois can be quite harsh. This is especially true if the charge involves minors, pregnant women, or a history of drug use or trafficking.

People frequently believe that crimes involving prescription drugs are not a big deal. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. Many common prescription drugs are classified as Schedule I which is the same as cocaine or heroin. Therefore, possession and possession with intent to sell involving, for example opioid base pills, is punished the same as if you had cocaine or heroin. You can be charged whether or not you have a prescription for the drug under specific circumstances.

Punishment for simple possession ranges from a misdemeanor with minimal or no jail time to major felonies with prison terms. Whether or not you are charged with simple possession or possession with intent is very fact specific. Simple possession as a misdemeanor might be charged if you have no prescription, but only have a small number of pills when you are arrested.

Whether or not you have a prescription, your lawyer will need to look at all the surrounding circumstances and discuss them with you. If you have prescriptions from multiple doctors, duplicate or alter prescriptions, or carry a prescription pad without authorization, you can face additional penalties.

Illinois law specifies certain thresholds for amounts of drugs related to punishment. That is, the more weight you possess, the greater the punishment. Prison terms range from 4 to 60 years. It is imperative you speak to counsel as soon as you know you may be facing these types of charges.

Circumstances that can cause an Assistant State’s Attorney (ASA) to argue you possessed the drugs with intent to distribute are:

  • Large numbers of pills
  • Whether the pills are divided into individual baggies
  • Large number of small bills on your person
  • Foot traffic to and from your home or location
  • Admissions from yourself or other people
  • Possession of scales
  • Multiple cell phones and the messages on the phone
  • Indications that you use the drugs (which can be a defense)

It is important to note that because you did not receive money in trade for the drugs does not preclude the ASA from charging you with intent to sell or distribute. Giving away your prescriptions is identical under the law to selling them. As I mentioned in my last post, there are also special enhancements for giving away or selling prescription drugs to pregnant women or minors. It can also be a crime to leave your prescription pills where a child can access them. If you or a loved one is facing charges relating to prescription drugs, contact my Orland Park office for a free consultation with an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney today.

We handle matters in areas of Cook County including Chicago, Chicago Ridge, Glenview, Crestwood, Evergreen Park, Bedford Park, Palos Park, Oak Lawn, Burbank, Oak forest, Blue Island, Palos Heights, Palos Hills, Alsip, Bridgeview, Lemont, Orland Hills, Country Club Hills, Hickory Hills, Summit, Richton Park, Midlothian, Worth, Posen, Matteson, Olympia Fields, Hometown, and Tinley Park, in DuPage County areas including Downers Grove, Naperville, Woodridge, and Darien, in Kane County areas including Aurora, Elgin and Geneva, and the Will County cities of Joliet, Bolingbrook, Mokena, Frankfort, New Lenox, Lockport, Homer Glen, Romeoville, and Manhattan. Call today to speak with an attorney.

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