Chicago Drug Distribution Defense Attorney
The penalties for possessing drugs are even greater in cases where there’s evidence you had the intent to sell or traffic them. You may get charged with drug distribution over the import, sale, or transportation of illegal drugs, such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. The Illinois Controlled Substances Act also covers, prescription drugs such as depressants, stimulants, painkillers, sleeping pills, opiates, and hydrocodone.
Drug distribution may be charged as either a federal or a state offense, depending on the circumstances of your arrest, and the scope of your alleged trafficking activities. Whether you’re facing drug-related charges in state or federal court, you’ll need a Chicago drug distribution defense attorney to avoid harsh criminal penalties.
If you’ve been charged with drug distribution, call O’Meara Law today at 312-909-0706 for your free and confidential consultation
Elements of Drug Distribution
To convict you of drug distribution, the prosecution has the burden of proving three elements. They must be able to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you:
Possessed a controlled substance
For the purpose of delivering it to someone else
All three elements must be proven before you can be charged. The first element is often at issue in drug trafficking cases, since it can be difficult to prove someone knew what they were doing. Many lawyers can obtain an acquittal for their client where there is some doubt as to whether they possessed the controlled substance knowingly.
The prosecutor must also demonstrate that you actually possessed the controlled substance, or that it was in a place over which you had control (such as the trunk of your car, a locker in a bus station, or your home). The state’s case will also include a lab test of the substance you were caught with because you cannot be convicted unless it is clear that you had drugs and not some other chemical compound.
Finally, the prosecutor must show beyond a reasonable doubt that you had the intent to sell, deliver, or transport the drugs. The prosecution may use evidence that you actually sold the drugs, such as your confession or the testimony of an informant. Alternatively, they may use evidence of your intention to sell drugs such as the presence of baggies and a scale at the scene.
Penalties for Drug Distribution
There are several factors that affect the severity of the punishment for drug distribution. These include the type of drugs involved, the amount, distribution location, and whether children were involved or targeted.
Drug trafficking or distribution is always felony, ranging from the least serious – a Class 3 felony – to a Class X felony, the most serious.
If you are convicted of a Class 3 felony, you are subject to a prison term of double the minimum sentence. Since the minimum penalty is two to five years in prison, you could face up to 10 years in prison.
Class X felonies carry prison terms of anywhere from six to 60 years, depending on the substance and the amount distributed.
A conviction for drug distribution may also result in fines of as much as $1 million. In addition, if you use cellular radio telecommunication devices while trafficking drugs, you will be fined an additional amount – as much as $100,000.
In addition to fines and jail time, your drug trafficking conviction will also involve collateral consequences, including:
- Trouble finding a good job because of the felony visible on your permanent criminal record
- Difficulty gaining admission to a reputable college or university
- Disqualification from receiving federal student aid
- Inability to sign up for certain welfare or housing assistance programs
- Revocation of your right to own or even carry a firearm
- For immigrants, likely deportation
How O’Meara Law Can Help
Drug distribution charges come with serious penalties. The strict fines, jail time, and other consequences can affect you for the rest of your life. That’s why you need an experienced Chicago drug distribution defense attorney on your side.
As a former prosecutor, Michael O’Meara knows how the state will build its case against you. He will put his two decades of courtroom experience towards uncovering the gaps and inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case. Do not plead guilty before talking with a skilled Chicago criminal defense attorney, as there may be several ways to defend your case.
To find out more, call O’Meara Law today at 312-909-0706 for your free and confidential case assessment.