Articles Tagged with Chicago drug crimes attorney

haley-lawrence-1194174-unsplash-copy-300x200Criminal indictments of major executives at pharmaceutical companies have made headlines across the county as local governments point fingers over the opioid crisis. Now, the federal government is getting involved, as well. At least six companies are the target of a federal probe into whether or not these companies violated the law

Activists have been calling for the sanction of opioid distributors for their role in the opioid crisis. Among the major accusations such companies are facing is the question of whether or not they lied to doctors concerning the addictive properties of their medications. There is some indication that they may have sold their drugs as “less addictive” than older opioid-based medications.

Additionally, opioid companies are accused of oversupplying certain rural communities with enough pills to kill everyone in the county. These pills often made their way into pill mills and were sold on the streets to willing buyers. 

get-budding-72791-copy-300x200Though the number of drug arrests in Chicago is down, drug crimes in Chicago are still a serious problem. The fight against drug possession charges is a difficult one if police find enough evidence to support their claim. But an additional charge of intent to distribute is typically attached when the individual charged has a sizable amount of a single drug or multiple drugs. The amount is what warrants the impression that the drugs are meant to be sold.

With the addition of intent to distribute, the initial charge is amplified with more severe penalties that are life changing. With the right legal representation, it is possible to defend yourself against the charges.

If charges of drug possession and intent to distribute are leveled against you, it is essential you hire legal counsel immediately. Whether you are facing drug charges that involve marijuana, prescription drugs or cocaine, a drug crime defense lawyer in Chicago will work with you to achieve the best outcome for your situation by pursuing possible defenses such as:

esteban-lopez-234052-copy-300x200In June of 2018, Chicago police discovered over 1,500 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop. The street value of the drugs is just over $10 million. The use of a drug dog from the narcotics unit helped police make this discovery.

The vehicle was stopped for suspicion of trafficking narcotics, which is why the drug dog was on hand. The drugs were en route to Chicago from California. The driver was charged with possession of over 5,000 grams of cannabis. Now, many people are raising issue with the legitimacy of the traffic stop.

The Issue

esteban-lopez-234052-copy-300x200Drug crimes are one of the most prevalent crimes committed in Chicagoland and across the world. You should be informed of the laws that dictate the ones in your own hometown. More often than not, the line between a misdemeanor charge and a felony is very thin. When it comes to drugs, even if you have access to Illinois drug statutes, it can all be confusing. There are cases in which the lines are quite blurred and you may not be sure of what consequences you will be facing in your near future.

Possession

Within the plentiful variety of possession charges one can face, it is obviously highly dependent on what substance it is that has been found. Whether or not if you are a first or repeat offender is also a major factor in the eyes of the court.

esteban-lopez-234052-copy-300x200Although 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.

Drug Offenses

According to research, the following is a list of the top three felony drug offenses in Illinois:

maique-madeira-256088-copy-300x200Although most ordinary people talk about “drug crime” as if it were one giant part of criminal law, there are many important distinctions between different drug-related crimes. One of them is the difference between drug dealing and drug trafficking. Let us take the case of David Price, who faced life imprisonment after being found guilty of running an illicit drug empire.

Drug dealing often happens on the streets when middlemen and low-level distributors try to offload the controlled drugs onto the street. They are the people who sell on a one-to-one basis or who provide small shopping facilities for drugs. This is a different crime from trafficking, which often includes international routes. The failure to make these distinctions clear has meant that many people are serving sentences that are longer than they would ordinarily be if the right procedure was followed.

Why is the Distinction Between Dealing and Trafficking so Important?

dan-gold-240112-copy-169x300The use of dogs for gathering police evidence has been debated at the highest levels of the criminal justice system. The 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals recently considered the matter and made a ruling that could potentially have far-reaching consequences.

The key issue was the extent to which the law enforcement agencies should be able to rely on K-9 partners when making a decision as to whether to search a person or not. There are vehicle sniff directives for law enforcement agencies in place even without this trial.

In the case of Lex, the dog was not considered to be adequately trained or talented enough to be able to make a decision either way. The case was brought by Larry Bentley Jr. He had been sentenced to 20 years in jail for being found in possession of controlled substances.

BRMHS_classroom_wall_2Questioning the Rationale and Practicality of the Current Legal Regime

The first principle of the law in the USA is equality. That may not quite square up to the enhanced sentencing regime for designated drug free zones in Chicago. The current trends owe their origins partly to the 1980s when the super-predator ethos started to take hold in the echelons of legislative assemblies. It was fashionable to be tough on crime. As a result many people are now serving ridiculously long sentences for relatively minor drug offenses. President Barack Obama has used his discretion in pardoning some of these offenders. A less shocking but equally serious manifestation of this fear of crime is called enhanced sentencing. The regime was designed to tackle those areas that were at a very high risk of becoming drug dens. In effect, people who committed drug offenses within these localities would eventually face penalties that were stiffer than those who committed crimes in the non-designated areas.

The principles of natural justice do not quite square up to these situational aggravating features given that an offender has limited control over the geography of the USA or how the authorities decide to designate drug free zones. Supporters of the regime argue that it makes sense when you consider the actual zones that are affected. These include schools and drug recovery institutions. The rationale is that the hardened criminals should not be allowed to exploit vulnerable people without serious consequences. In any case, the same principle has been used to develop aggravating features for burglary. The offender may not know that the home is occupied when he or she decides to steal from it, but the fact that it is occupied will lead to a harsher sentence. Illinois is one of the areas that has fully embraced the school zoning criteria for enhanced sentencing.

Package Delivery 1The legalization of recreational marijuana in several states over the last few years has created a business opportunity that some people are finding difficult to resist. Non-commercial cultivators in states like Colorado that have legalized recreational marijuana have little legal regulation, and even less oversight, and with prices for their product being between 300% to 500% higher in states where the possession and use of marijuana for recreational purposes is still illegal, there is a huge incentive for these gray-area cultivators to export their crops across state lines.

Case Study

Illinois resident Ryan Bailey was arrested on January 7 by Chicago police after receiving a seven pound package of marijuana sent to him from a nonexistent shipping company in Aurora Colorado. Before moving to Chicago, Mr. Bailey had lived in Colorado, where he and his wife had run both a growing facility and dispensary where he got in legal trouble for running a much larger operation than was allowed without commercial permits. Prior to his January 7th arrest, Mr. Bailey was arrested previously when the Chicago police department raided his home in Northwest Chicago and found over 40 pounds of marijuana. In both cases the raids were set in motion by UPS employees who reported delivering packages that smelled strongly of marijuana.

If you are convicted of a Chicago drug crime, whether misdemeanor or felony, you face a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines. If you are not an American citizen, whether an illegal immigrant or a lawful permanent resident, you also face the possibility of being deported.

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Deportation for Drug Crimes Conviction

The United States federal code allows for the deportation of any alien convicted of conspiracy to violate, attempted violation or violation of a state controlled substance law (other than a single offense of possession of less than 30 grams of personal use marijuana) that relates to a federally banned substance. The federal code outlines specific substances that are considered controlled substances that could lead to deportation.

This is an important distinction in the law. State and federal law are not always in lock-step regarding what is considered a controlled substance. If an illegal immigrant is convicted of a drug crime under state law, and the controlled substance is not included under the federal controlled substance list, the illegal immigrant is not eligible for deportation.

The United States Supreme Court recently made another distinction under the law. In order to be a deportable offense, the underlying charge must specifically state the controlled substance banned under federal law. In Mellouli v. Lynch, the defendant was convicted of misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. The paraphernalia in this case was a sock that contained four unnamed pills. Neither the initial charge nor the ultimate plea agreement made specific reference to the controlled substance that was in the defendant’s possession at the time of arrest.

The court ruled that in order to trigger the deportation law, it must be made clear at some point what federally banned controlled substance the defendant had in his possession. Laws must be taken at face value, meaning when the court is interpreting a vague or otherwise ambiguous law, it cannot consider what it thinks the drafters of the law meant. They may only be guided by the literal letter of the law.

Based on prior rulings, the court ruled that they must take the conviction at face value and could not be held responsible for looking into the underlying facts. Thus, police and forensic reports may have indicated what pills were in the defendant’s sock, and reading those reports would have allowed the court to check the federal controlled substance law to see if the drug was included. But that is the responsibility of the police and prosecutor, not the court. Without the substance named, the court ruled the defendant could not be deported.

In terms of defense of drug crimes, the case seemingly has little to no impact on the role of a criminal defense attorney. Yet the case is likely to make prosecutors look more closely at charging documents and plea agreements to ensure that all drug crimes cases are linked to federally banned substances, to ensure that the immigration department has an easier path to deportation, should it choose that option. In that sense, it makes it that much more important to retain the services of an experienced Chicago drug crimes attorney to help win an acquittal or dismissal of all charges, so that deportation is not an option.

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