You may be familiar with anabolic steroids from the many headlines of scandals in the sporting world, but the abuse of this drug is not limited to professional athletes. You may know gym enthusiasts and competitive people who are secretly “juicing.” Many people do not even realize that the way they are using the drug may be considered illegal under Illinois state law. Citizens of Illinois should be aware of the exact laws regarding their proper and improper use. Here are the legal consequences to getting caught with steroids in Illinois.
When is Steroid Use Illegal?
The Illinois Controlled Substances Act gives the legal definition of anabolic steroids as “any drug or hormonal substance, chemically and pharmacologically related to testosterone.” Athletes and bodybuilders have been known to use “roids” as a means of building muscle and enhancing their athletic performance. Other people use it as a shortcut for boosting their fitness.
Under the laws of Illinois, this is considered to be drug abuse. Anabolic steroids are illegal “for any use in humans other than ... for a valid medical purpose” as prescribed by a licensed physician. The law even touches on the phenomenon of fitness and sports-related steroid abuse, saying that using this substance “to increase muscle mass, strength or weight without a medical necessity to do so, or for … improving physical appearance or performance” is not considered to be a “valid medical purpose” and is therefore illegal.
In fact, the sheer amount of abuse of anabolic steroids found in the field of fitness is taken very seriously. Illinois statute 720 ILCS 570/411 lists several particular offenses that “warrant the most severe penalties.” Among the nine kinds of criminals specified in this section are any “athletic trainer[s], coach[es], or health club personnel” found guilty of providing anyone with anabolic steroids.
What are the Penalties for Steroid Possession in Illinois?
Anabolic steroids are largely considered Schedule III controlled substances. This is the middle tier of the scheduling system that the Act uses to distinguish controlled substances based on how hazardous they are. While getting caught with steroids in Illinois is not treated with as much severity as, say, cocaine or heroin, it is taken more seriously than illegal activity with many other types of prescription medicines.
Possession of any amount of anabolic steroid is considered a Class C Misdemeanor, but only for first-time offenders. They run the risk of being fined up to $1500 and spending up to one month in jail. People caught and found guilty of doing so again less than two years after a previous conviction will instead face a Class B Misdemeanor charge. The maximum fine remains the same as before, but the maximum jail time that a judge is allowed to sentence increases to six months.
The consequences to a conviction for getting caught with steroids in Illinois do not end after fines are paid and time is served. This information would appear not only on your criminal record but also in background checks. This may potentially affect your ability to find employment and housing, among other aspects of your life.
When is Steroid Use Legal?
Not every instance of anabolic steroids possession is a criminal offense. This drug has certain health benefits and uses, so the law allows for it to be used - and therefore, possessed, distributed, and manufactured - for certain reasons.
As mentioned above, people are allowed to use this substance if it has been prescribed “for a valid medical purpose.” Examples of conditions that anabolic steroids are used to treat include anemia, breast cancer, hereditary angioedema, and low testosterone production. Doctors also prescribe it for gaining weight to prevent or amend weight loss from a surgery, as well as for rebuilding damaged tissue.
Additionally, medical approval is not needed for administering anabolic steroids to non-human animals. While the use of growth hormones in cattle and other livestock may be controversial, it is explicitly allowed under Illinois law. This is stated in both the subsection giving the legal definition of anabolic steroids (720 ILCS 570/102, Subsection C-1) and the section of the Controlled Substances Act labeled “Excluded Substances” (720 ILCS 570/214).
Getting caught with steroids in Illinois can potentially land you in serious legal trouble. If you or a loved one face charges related to anabolic steroids, contact the experienced Chicago drug crimes lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC. Our attorneys have successfully handled many cases relating to drug crime charges, and they are willing and ready to use their knowledge to defend you. Call us today for a free consultation at (312) 644-0444.