Chicago Drug Trafficking Lawyer

Any Illinois drug offense needs to be taken seriously and handled by an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney. Because of harsh penalties, one mistake can cause someone to be imprisoned for decades, setting them up for failure later in life. A felony drug offense means more than prison and a fine. It entails a permanent criminal record that makes it difficult for a past offender to finish school, find safe and affordable housing, and get a good job.

If you are facing a drug charge, call the drug crime defense attorneys at O’Meara Law at right away.

Illinois Drug Trafficking Law

Illinois statute 720 ILCS 570, also known as the Illinois Controlled Substances Act, prohibits the manufacturing, importation, distribution, and trafficking of illegal drugs. Section 401.1 specifically addresses trafficking and states any person who:

  • knowingly brings in or causes to be brought into Illinois,
  • for the purpose of manufacturing or delivery,
  • or with the intent to manufacture or deliver,
  • a controlled substance other than methamphetamine or counterfeit substances,
  • in this or any other state or country,
  • is guilty of controlled substance trafficking.

So what is drug trafficking really? It is when someone purposefully brings illegal drugs into the state to deliver them somewhere else or to someone else. The intended destination can be in Illinois or anywhere else. A person can be charged with this offense as long as the person intentionally brought the illegal drugs across the state line into Illinois.

Statutory Penalties

The penalties for drug trafficking are harsh and a defendant should have the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney to avoid the maximum penalties possible. Someone convicted of drug trafficking under Illinois law will be sentenced to no less than twice the minimum prison term authorized based on the type and amount of the drug, but also no more than twice the maximum amount. A defendant also faces twice the fine authorized for that type and amount of drug. Section 401 of the Act determines the minimum and maximum terms of imprisonment for illegal drugs, including heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, morphine, amphetamine, LSD, ketamine, and other Schedule I and II drugs.

The specific class of felony a person is charged with also depends on the type and amount of the drug. You will likely be charged with a Class 1 or Class X felony.

Additionally, if someone uses a cellular radio telecommunication during the trafficking actions, they will be charged with a Class 2 felony and charged a fine up to $100,000.

Additional Consequences

A felony drug conviction will follow you around the rest of your life. Long after you have paid your fine and completed your prison sentence you will still deal with:

  • A permanent criminal record
  • Difficulty obtaining school loans
  • Difficult obtaining a job or building a career
  • Trouble being approved for safe and affordable rental housing
  • Loss of or inability to obtain a professional license
  • Loss or restriction in child custody or visitation
  • Loss of immigration visa, permanent resident status, or denial of citizenship application

Potential Defenses

There are a few key defenses to drug trafficking cases, though your attorney will review the evidence against you and help you build a custom defense for your situation. Common defenses to drug trafficking charges include:

  • Lack of knowledge or intent
  • Insanity
  • Duress

Because you must have brought the drugs into Illinois on purpose, this is often a key element for your attorney to argue you did not have. Duress is often common because you may be able to prove that someone else forced you through violence or threat of violence to behave the way you did.

Contact O’Meara Law for Help

Even if you were found carrying a small amount of a drug or if you are entirely innocent and the case is a mistake, you need to take these charges very seriously. The statutory and collateral consequences of conviction are extreme. They will halt your education or career and take you away from your family. Getting back to a normal after you are out of prison can equally be difficult.

You don’t have to face these charges along. You can have the help of an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney with Michael O’Meara. Attorney O’Meara previously worked as an assistant state’s attorney, giving him a keen understanding of how prosecutor’s approach cases like yours and the best way to defend against them.

Call O’Meara Law today at today for a case consultation.