Although drug crimes have the potential to either be a felony or a misdemeanor, it is when you are charged with a felony that you will most want to present some sort of defense for yourself. As you may know, your trial must begin within 120-160 days of your arrest, which may be giving you a false sense of time. This is due to the fact that you must file your challenge against your conviction within 30 days or else you might miss the opportunity to seize your right to appeal completely.
According to research, the following is a list of the top three felony drug offenses in Illinois:
- Marijuana Trafficking: Being charged with trafficking of any drug more often than not involves penalization about twice as harsh compared to the growing of marijuana (manufacturing). Trafficking is generally charged as a federal crime.
- Heroin Possession: Of all drugs, heroin is what you will be most critically punished for. Possession of as little as .05 of a gram can result in a class 4 felony (one to three years in Illinois penitentiary) as well as a $25,000 fine. If carrying at minimum 15 grams of heroin at the time of your arrest, you will be charged with a mandatory class 1 felony (four-15 years in Illinois state prison) as well as a maximum $200,000 fine.
- Cocaine Possession: Regardless of the amount of cocaine seized, any trace of cocaine is an automatic class 4 felony (similar to heroin possession). That being said, you may still also be able to qualify for probation.
Popular Methods of Defense
- Faulty Investigation: If you believe your constitutional rights have been violated then there is always an opportunity to comb for possible evidence of foul play within police behavior during their collecting of evidence or testimony from witnesses.
- Reliability of Informant: Similar to the defense of unlawful behavior in a police investigation, you can also challenge the credibility of an informant. If you believe an informant may have an unreasonable bias against you or not is mentally capable of giving an accurate account, then you can choose this route.
- The Condition of Health: If you have a substance addiction or suffer from any sort of mental imbalance, you may be able to replace your jail/prison time with an alternative remedy for your condition.
Recent Accounts of Felony Drug Defenses
Recently in New York, two women and one man were arrested on felony drug charges where one of the women and the single man had used the defense claiming they were oblivious to the woman unsuspectedly carrying fentanyl and crack cocaine on her. They attempted to say that she was acting as a mule to transport the drugs without their knowledge so that it would lessen their mandatory charges for being in the vehicle with her at the time of arrest.
This is a good example of poor use of defense because there was substantial evidence proving their defense was untrue. In the end, this resulted in additional time on their sentence that would have been avoided had they gone with no defense.
This is proof that not every defense is a beneficial defense. If you are in need of someone who can provide you with a defense that will give you the best rate of success or even simply for expert legal advice, contact David Freidberg Attorney at Law at (312) 560-7100.
(image courtesy of Esteban Lopez)