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Distribution And Justice: Navigating Drug Court And Drug Charges In Illinois

Distribution And Justice: Navigating Drug Court And Drug Charges In Illinois Lawyer, Frankfort CityIn this article, you will learn:

  • Which drug convictions get sent to Drug Court, and how it works.
  • The defenses available to drug possession and distribution charges in Illinois.
  • Why you should never just plead guilty, without at least consulting a lawyer first.

When you are facing a drug charge, or conviction, knowing which court you will be tried in, and what legal options you have at your disposal is essential to avoid the worst outcomes.

What Is Drug Court In Illinois?

Drug Court is a nickname for the Illinois specialty court reserved for handling drug addicts. Its focus is primarily on treatment and sobriety. As a result, penalties tend to be less severe, and probation more common.

Can I Get Into Drug Court For A Drug Distribution Charge?

In general, those charged with drug delivery or distribution are not eligible for Drug Court. However, a strong negotiator, with knowledge of the law, case, and judicial system, may be able to get your charges amended and allow for a transfer to Drug Court.

Being able to do so will often depend on the details of the case. Factors such as the number of alleged transactions, or whether you were conducting them in order to feed your addiction, can play a significant role. As with other drug charges, the weight, number of transactions, and substances involved can all impact the final outcome.

Even if you case is not eligible for Drug Court, there are still options and defenses available.

How Can I Defend Myself Against Drug Distribution Charges In Illinois?

There are many defenses available in drug distribution cases, all of which experienced lawyers like those at The MacNeil Firm will be able to put into place.

One strategy is to challenge the possession itself. Did you possess the illegal substance? If it was in your pocket, that could be relatively easy for the prosecutor to prove their case. But what if the drugs are found in a car that you just happen to be riding in? What if the drugs are found in the trunk of your car / What if the drugs were found in a house or apartment with multiple residents? That type of situation could be appropriate to consider a possession defense. The prosecution would still argue constructive possession (where you do not have direct control over the substance, but the intent or power to do so), but that is a harder case for them to prove than actual possession

Drug cases are also open to fourth amendment challenges, which protect against unlawful searches and seizures. Were the drugs found during an illegal search? What about an illegal stop or detention? Or a stop and frisk? Anytime law enforcement conducts a search without a search warrant, there is a potential 4th Amendment search and seizure defense available. If a Motion to Suppress Evidence is filed and granted, the prosecution will not be able to use any evidence suppressed, which often means they have to dismiss the case. This is often a very effective strategy that The MacNeil Firm uses.

Sometimes the police were not even able to prove the substance was an illicit drug and not just a look-alike. There are a lot of defenses available to you, but which ones might work will often be determined by the evidence or the discovery in your case.

That is where a legal professional’s skill and experience are essential: evaluating what defenses are available to you and what the best way to approach your defense is.

Should I Plead Guilty To My Drug Charge?

Unless you feel comfortable going to prison, negotiating without a lawyer to have your back is generally a very bad idea. Prosecuting attorneys are trained to handle drug cases and may even be under instructions to send all individuals who’ve been charged with delivery or distribution to prison. They do not have your best interests at heart. You need a strong attorney to push back against the prosecution, and, if the circumstances are appropriate, negotiate on your behalf.

If I Am Considering A Guilty Plea, Do I Still Need A Lawyer?

Yes absolutely, you need to hire your own lawyer. While it might seem redundant to hire a lawyer to represent you if you plan to cave and plead guilty, this could not be further from the truth.

Without strong representation, your chances of going to prison and the length of time you end up there are likely to go up steeply. No matter how clever or familiar you might think you are with the legal system, you will be at a substantial disadvantage representing yourself, especially going against a skilled prosecutor.

When Will Someone Arrested And Charged With Drug Distribution Be Released From Jail?

Assuming that they’re charged with a felony (with the exception of a very small amount of cannabis, most distribution or delivery drug cases are felonies) there will be a bond hearing or detention hearing. That is a hearing during which the judge decides whether someone will be released from jail while the case is pending or what conditions will be necessary to secure their release. The judge can also determine a cash bail is necessary. The judge can also deny bail and hold a person in custody for the duration of the case in some cases.

Sometimes you will have to post cash bail to get them out. Other times there may be conditions like house arrest or electronic monitoring. If someone you know has been arrested, it is essential to have a seasoned defense attorney at that hearing.

An experienced attorney can present mitigation and facts favorable to the charged individual to increase the likelihood that they can get out of jail while the case is pending.

With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Illinois Drug Law, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing an expert has your back. For more information on Drug Offense Laws in Illinois, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (708) 218-0947 today.

Donald N. Macneil, Esq.

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