When you got arrested for marijuana, you probably couldn't believe the situation. After all, a number of states, plus the nation's capital, have legalized marijuana.
It's true: facing a marijuana charge these days can be extremely frustrating, humiliating and frightening all at once. However, just because you have been arrested and taken into custody does not mean you are automatically guilty. The arrest is just part of a legal process, and you have a right to challenge the prosecution and fight the charge.
Know your rights.
Police officers are human. They make mistakes. If your rights were violated due to errors or misconduct by police, the evidence against you may be suppressed and the charge against you dropped.
In many drug crime cases, evidence is obtained through illegal search and seizure. Likewise, unlawful traffic stops -- those without reasonable suspicion -- can also lead to drug charges. If this is your situation, you need to explore every available legal option for having the charge reduced or dismissed.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can investigate your case and help you achieve the most favorable outcome.
Possible Penalties for Marijuana Offenses
In Illinois, it is illegal to cultivate, traffic or sell marijuana, and possessing even a small amount -- 10 grams or less -- is a civil violation.
However, a conviction for possessing larger amounts can result in years of incarceration. Here's a quick breakdown of penalties for marijuana possession in Illinois:
- 10 grams or less: a maximum fine of $200
- First-offense possession of 10 to 30 grams: a possible 1-year sentence and a fine of up to $2,500
- Subsequent-offense possession of 10 to 30 grams: a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 to 6 years, plus a maximum fine of $25,000
- First-offense possession of 30 to 500 grams: a mandatory minimum sentence of 1 to 6 years, plus a maximum fine of $25,000
- Subsequent-offense possession of 30 to 500 grams: a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 to 10 years, plus a maximum fine of $25,000
The penalties increase significantly for possession of larger amounts, and often these charges are accompanied by sale or trafficking charges, which also carry heavy penalties.
Don't wait. Start protecting your rights and future now.
For more on drug crime defense in Illinois, please see our drug crime overview.