Drug Crime Defense Attorneys in Chicago

Drug Crime Lawyers in IllinoisIf you have been accused of a drug crime in Chicago, such as, distribution, manufacturing or possession, contact the Chicago drug crime attorneys at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC for skilled representation.

Drug crimes in Illinois may involve a wide variety of circumstances, including possession, sale, manufacture, trafficking, dealing, distribution, contributing to a drug-induced homicide, or merely being under the influence in public. Depending on the type of drug involved and the quantity of the drug (which might be measured either by weight or number of pills, etc), the penalties for drug crimes may be anything from a small $50 fine to a life sentence in prison.

In addition to such penalties, additional consequences of certain drug violations may, among other possibilities, result in the mandatory removal of a non-citizen from the United States, forfeiture to the State of homes, real estate, vehicles and other personal property, or the inability to obtain student loans, subsidized housing, or employment.

As a general rule, those drugs with a greater likelihood of addiction and those cases that involve higher quantities will usually result in more severe penalties. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you determine how serious your particular case is and the best way to protect your interests.

If you live in the Arlington Heights, Chicago, or elsewhere in Illinois and seek assistance with drug charges, contact the law firm of Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC today at (800) 996-4824. Our drug possession attorneys in Chicago have several decades of combined experience in handling drug cases, and we can start providing you the assistance you need immediately.

Table Of Contents

    Controlled Substances

    In Illinois, like every other State, and under our Federal system, there are laws on the books that make it a crime to possess, deliver, distribute, manufacture, etc. any Controlled Substance. Illinois has adopted a "Schedule " (list) of Controlled Substances that mirrors the Federal Schedules. The purpose behind the schedules is to identify dangerous substances, rank them according to their level of danger, and fashion penalties that meet the needs of law enforcement and society. There are five separate schedules presently in Illinois which include:

    • Schedule I: These are substances that have a high potential for abuse and have no currently accepted medical use for treatment in the United States, or are unsafe for use in treatment.
      • Examples of substances listed under Schedule I are Heroin, MDA, MDMA, LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and Methaqualone.
    • Schedule II: These are substances that carry a high potential for abuse, but do have currently accepted medical use in treatment with severe restrictions, and the abuse of the substance may lead to severe physical or psychological dependence.
      • Examples of the numerous drugs listed under Schedule II are Opium, Hydrocodone, Codeine, and Cocaine.
    • Schedule III: These have a lower potential for abuse than the substances under I or II, are currently accepted for medicinal treatments, and the abuse of the drug may lead to moderate or low physical or psychological dependence.
      • Examples of the numerous drugs listed under Schedule III are certain depressants, anabolic steroids, and even some hallucinogens.
    • Schedule IV: These have a low potential for abuse as compared to schedule III, have accepted medical uses for treatment, and abuse may lead to limited physical or psychological dependence compared to Schedule III.
      • Examples of the numerous drugs listed under Schedule IV are mostly prescription drugs, such as Phenobarbital.
    • Schedule V: These have an even lower possibility of abuse than schedule IV drugs, are currently accepted for use in treatment, and abuse may lead to limited mental or physical dependence compared to schedule IV, or the substance is a targeted methamphetamine precursor.

    Not all controlled substances are as serious a threat to public safety and to public health as others, as reflected by the above drug schedules. In order to effectively deal with the threat that controlled substances have with respect to the health, safety and welfare of Illinois residents, our legislators enacted The Cannabis Control Act, The Illinois Controlled Substances Act, and in 2005, the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act.

    Drug Crime Defense Attorneys in Chicago

    Each of these Acts contains a series of laws that address the penalties for certain violations. For example, Cannabis is treated less seriously than controlled substances, and possession of any controlled substance is considered less severe than the manufacturing of, delivery of, or possession with intent to deliver or distribute any controlled substance.

    Marijuana Possession

    As for cannabis (marijuana), the laws are written so that it is treated separately from the other scheduled controlled substances, largely because of recent changes in public opinion and in the medical and scientific communities regarding the dangerousness of the drug. Once upon a time, cannabis was regarded to be as serious as heroin, whereas today it is regarded as a much less serious substance.


    Conversely, methamphetamine was given a separate designation for law enforcement purposes, again because of the increasing evidence of the truly dangerous and nefarious nature of the substance. The laws regarding these substances can be found under the Cannabis Control Act and the Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act, respectively.

    Drug Manufacture and Sale

    For controlled substances such as heroin, cocaine, LSD, and numerous other drugs described in the five schedules discussed above, Illinois law intends to punish the distributors and traffickers more harshly than the users and those addicted to the drugs. Various drugs and the quantities are listed, along with their corresponding penalties. There are simply too many to list here, but by way of example, here are the penalties for the manufacture, delivery or possession with intent to manufacture or deliver, heroin, fentanyl or cocaine. The following quantities are Class X felonies, and are what lawyers and judges refer to as "Super X felonies " because of the enhanced mandatory sentencing ranges:

    • 15 grams or more, but less than 100 grams - 6-30 years;
    • 100 grams or more, but less than 400 grams - 9-40 years;
    • 400 grams or more, but less than 900 grams - 12-50 years;
    • 900 gram or more - 15-60 years.

    Smaller Sales of Controlled Substances

    As for the "small time street dealer", the law imposes penalties for dealing in lesser quantities. For example, the drugs mentioned above in the following quantities are punished as Class 1 felonies, for which a fine shall not exceed $250,000:

    • 1 or more, but not more than 15 grams - Class 1 felony (Note: 3 or more grams of heroin, or 5 or more grams of cocaine or fentanyl, carry mandatory prison terms of 4-15 years in addition to the fines and other penalties)
    • Any amount less than one gram - Class 2 felony with a fine up to $200,000.

    Counterfeit Drugs

    In addition to actual drugs and substances that produce a "high," or other drug-like symptoms, you may be surprised to know that the Controlled Substances Act also criminalizes the possession, manufacture, and sale of counterfeit substances and look-alike drugs that produce no "high" but are intended to fool users and purchasers of drugs. Some of these fake drugs are even more dangerous than the actual drug, as they are often manufactured with poisonous substances that can lead to death.

    The law may punish the mere possession of these “look-alike” drugs as merely a petty offense, punishable by a fine only for the first such offense; whereas the manufacture, distribution, advertisement or possession with intent to deliver or distribute look-alike substances is often a Class 3 felony, punishable by two to five years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

    Medical Regulation of Drugs

    The Controlled Substances Act also regulates doctors, nurses, hospitals, and virtually every person that might ever come into contact with a "controlled substance" from the time that it's manufactured to the final end-user that possesses the substance. The laws regulate who may handle the substances, who may prescribe them, the forms to be used for prescriptions, who may distribute them, what substances may be possessed for research purposes, and who may do that research.

    Suffice it to say that it is not a defense for a layperson, who is not a licensed medical professional or pharmacist, to say that he or she had the drugs for “experimental purposes.”

    Drug Paraphernalia

    In addition to the Controlled Substances Act, Chicago residents should also be aware of the Drug Paraphernalia Control Act. This state law defines drug paraphernalia as any item intended to be used for the creation or use of a controlled substance, whether or not it violates the Controlled Substances Act, as well as any related acts regulating cannabis and methamphetamines. Getting caught owning or selling such items can result in tough charges.

    A possible defense is that the item in question was created with a purpose other than for use of a controlled substance. Many stores in Chicago are legally able to sell pipes and bongs by specifying that the purpose of these products is solely for smoking tobacco, rather than any illicit drugs.

    Chicago Drug Crime Attorneys Fighting Your Drug Charge

    It takes an experienced Chicago criminal drug attorney to provide successful legal representation to someone who has been charged under one of the many Illinois drug laws. The drug crime lawyers in Chicago associated with Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC are all experienced and knowledgeable attorneys who know that such cases can affect our clients’ futures and lives forever.

    There are a number of strategies that our criminal defense attorneys can employ in the defense of a drug related crime. Perhaps law enforcement officials acted without a valid search or arrest warrant. Perhaps they acted without sufficient probable cause to search the premises, and illegally seized the alleged substances or other evidence. Such improperly seized evidence may be subject to suppression from use as evidence at a trial. Also, the State must prove each and every element of an offense beyond a reasonable doubt; even where the physical evidence is admitted, it may still not be sufficient to prove knowledge, intent, or control of the items.

    At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, our lawyers will work diligently and tirelessly to achieve the best results possible in the defense of our clients. Whether your criminal case requires a trial or whether you request our attorneys to take part in a plea negotiation or work towards a deferred prosecution, we will help guide you down the best path for success. Call our law office today at (800) 996-4824 to learn why over 20,000 previous clients have chosen our legal team to help protect their future.

    Additional Information

    Written by Mitchell S. Sexner Last Updated : December 21, 2023