In Illinois, there are two different categories of drug possession charges. There is the basic possession of controlled substances. Then there is a more serious category, which is possession with intent to distribute. As is understandable, the latter category is punished more harshly.
The elements of drug possession charges
All possession charges require intent. In other words, you cannot be charged with possession if you are unwittingly holding illegal drugs. The suspect must know that they have possession of the substance, and that it is illegal. Possession is not a one-size-fits-all crime. Punishment varies based on the type of substance and the amount that the suspect has. Large amount of certain drugs could result in a minimum sentence of four years.
How to defend against drug charges
Defendants can always choose to fight drug charges against them, especially if they face a long prison sentence. Besides fighting the charges based on lack of knowledge that they actually had the substance, a suspect could also argue that they did not know that the substance was drugs. Another way to contest drug charges is to challenge the evidence. The defendant could argue that they were illegally searched, and that police did not have a legal right to seize the drugs. A defendant could also argue that they were entrapped into committing the crime. Their lawyer could first learn about the strength of the case before engaging the prosecutor.
If you are facing drug charges, you need prompt legal help to learn your options. An attorney could get to the bottom of your case and possibly hone in on some weaknesses of the case. When you are facing criminal charges, it is best not to handle the situation on your own.