Having cocaine in your possession, selling or trafficking the drug in Illinois is both a state and federal offense. Over the last few years, states have increased the penalties associated with cocaine have increased, especially if an “aggravating” factor is involved.
Definitions of cocaine and drug possession
If you face drug charges, possession means that you have physical control over the substance in question. This means you have the drugs on your person or have placed them somewhere for safekeeping in your home, car, etc. You may also be charged with constructive possession, meaning that you know of a controlled substance like cocaine and intend to maintain control of it, or you have exclusive control of the illegal drug in the area where it is located or stored.
Aggravating factors will increase the severity of the drug charges. These can include the number of drugs by weight, prior drug offenses and selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school or truck stop. Trafficking and distribution of cocaine is a much more serious charge than possession. Drug trafficking involves the illegal import, sale and transportation of unlawful controlled substances like marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc. As with possession, penalties increase due to the type and quantity of drugs involved, geographic area of distribution and whether children were targeted.
Fighting serious drug charges
Serious drug charges need an aggressive defense. Charges involving drug trafficking can carry especially serious consequences, even before conviction. You don’t have to be involved in a high-level distribution operation to be charged with trafficking. All the state needs to say is that you had drugs in your possession with the intention to cross state lines.
The first few days after a drug arrest are crucial to your impending case. No matter how friendly law enforcement is, do not talk to them. Often you’ll experience a gap between your arrest and the filing of charges. Use this time to gather evidence to mount a solid defense.