29 Sep 23

Answering Marijuana Possession Charges in Chicago

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Last Updated on: 30th September 2023, 09:57 pm

Answering Marijuana Possession Charges in Chicago

Getting charged with marijuana possession in Chicago can be scary. I know, I’ve been there. The cops put you in handcuffs, tow your car, and throw you in a cell. Not fun. But don’t panic! There are ways to fight the charges and protect yourself.

First off, you gotta know your rights. The cops need a warrant or probable cause to search your car or home. If they don’t have either, any evidence they find could get thrown out. Make sure to say you don’t consent to any searches – that’s key.

Now let’s talk defenses. If the weed was found in your home or car, you can argue it belonged to someone else – like your shady roommate or sibling. As long as you didn’t know about it, you’re off the hook. For public possession, you may claim it was for personal use only. Under 10 grams is a misdemeanor in Illinois.

You may also argue entrapment – this means the cops tricked or pressured you into committing a crime you wouldn’t normally do. It’s a solid defense for undercover drug busts gone wrong.

Getting the charges dropped completely requires good lawyering. Hire someone with experience beating drug cases. Check out firms like Chicago Trusted Attorneys or the Schaumburg Crime Lawyers.

A good lawyer will attack the arrest itself – were your rights violated? Was the search improper? They’ll also negotiate with the prosecutor for a better deal – probation instead of jail time.

What kind of penalties are we talking here? Possession of under 10 grams is a misdemeanor with up to 6 months in jail. Between 10-30 grams bumps it up to a felony with 1-3 years behind bars. More than 30 grams means up to 7 years.

Selling and distributing marijuana leads to worse outcomes. Delivery of 10-30 grams is a felony with 1-6 years in prison. Over 30 grams brings a whopping 1-15 years. Not fun.

Thankfully Illinois has decriminalized small amounts. Under 10 grams is punishable by ticket instead of arrest. Some cities like Chicago have “ban the box” laws preventing employers from asking about drug convictions. Progress!

Marijuana DUIs are also serious business. Drive with 5 nanograms of THC per mL of blood and you can be charged with DUI. The laws are still fuzzy here so fight any bogus charges.

Let’s switch gears and talk about expunging your record. Illinois allows expungement of possession charges after 1 year misdemeanor or 3 years felony. Your record is wiped clean like it never happened.

The process isn’t easy though. You’ll need to petition the court and get fingerprinted. There’s also a waiting period before you can expunge another offense. Still, it’s worth it for a fresh start.

I want to wrap this up on a positive note. A drug charge feels devastating but it’s not the end of the world. Plead not guilty, get a good lawyer, and fight like hell. Don’t take any plea deals that sound fishy. With hard work, you can put this behind you.

Stay strong and know your rights. You got this! Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions.

Defenses Against Marijuana Possession

  • No probable cause for search
  • Evidence obtained illegally
  • Weed belonged to someone else
  • Didn’t know weed was present
  • Weed was for personal use only
  • Entrapment by police

Penalties for Marijuana Possession in Illinois

Amount Charge Type Potential Penalties
Less than 10 grams Misdemeanor Up to 6 months in jail
10-30 grams Felony 1-3 years in prison
30-500 grams Felony 1-7 years in prison

Expunging Marijuana Convictions

Illinois allows record expungement for possession charges, with waiting periods:

  • 1 year for misdemeanor expungement
  • 3 years for felony expungement

The process involves petitioning the court and getting fingerprinted. Talk to a lawyer to start the expungement process.