Common Illinois Drug Defenses
Over the years, parts of Chicago have become ruined by drugs, leading to dependency, addiction, mental illness, high crime, and more. As Chicago works to keep its streets safe and reduce crime, police and prosecutors are arresting and charging more and more people with drug-related crimes — and it’s not out of the question for innocent people to become caught up in drug sweeps or investigations.
When you’re charged with a drug offense, it’s not unusual to feel a significant amount of stress and anxiety. Punishments for drug offenses can be harsh in Illinois, depending on the circumstances of the crime and the amount and type of drugs involved. Certain types of drug offenses can result in up to 60 years in prison — effectively a life sentence for any adult.
You may feel overwhelmed by the charge against you, and feel like it’s your word as an individual against the substantial weight and power of the government. However, it is not a foregone conclusion that you’ll be found guilty. Each case is unique, and the facts and circumstances of your case may present options for a successful defense with the help of a skilled Chicago drug defense lawyer.
Possible Consequences of an Illinois Drug Charge
Drug charges range from misdemeanors to severe, life-altering felonies. These are some of the penalties a person may experience when charged with a drug-related crime:
- Substantial jail or prison time
- Large financial penalties, commensurate with the severity of the crime
- Lost eligibility for higher education financial aid
- A permanent criminal record that may result in rejected job or housing rental applications
- Losing child custody or visitation rights
- Loss of immigration rights
You may be able to avoid some or all of these types of consequences with the help of a dedicated Illinois criminal defense lawyer who can craft a strong defense on your behalf.
A great defense lawyer may be able to achieve an outcome such as:
- Getting your charge dismissed
- Obtaining a not-guilty finding from a judge or jury
- Getting your charge reduced to something with less severe consequences
- Obtaining leniency in sentencing or being allowed to enter a diversion or rehabilitation program
Common Defenses to Illinois Drug Charges
Successfully defending a drug charge is a complicated task that involves understanding investigative processes, thorough knowledge of search and seizure laws, and more. An experienced and resourceful Illinois criminal defense attorney will know how to examine every detail of your case and find the facts and evidence that support your story of what happened and use them to present a strong case in your defense.
Every case is different, but these are some common strategies that might be used to defend an Illinois drug charge:
- Investigation errors: It’s not uncommon in drug cases for there to be flaws in how police carried out an investigation. Procedural flaws may result in evidence or testimony being collected in a way that is illegal and violates your constitutional rights. An experienced defense lawyer will evaluate the investigation that led to your drug charge and look for any potential violations of policies, laws, or procedures. If it was a flawed investigation, it may lead to reduced or dropped charges.
- Informant credibility: A great defense lawyer will investigate the veracity of any information that an involved confidential informant gave officials and work to uncover any biased motives the informant may have had when providing information to investigators in order to discredit testimony used against you.
- Violation of legal rights: A resourceful defense attorney will seek to understand whether a defendant’s legal search and seizure rights were violated during or after an investigation and arrest. When your rights are violated, it may be possible to prevent evidence obtained through illegal means from being used against you in court — which can result in your case being dismissed or your charge or penalties reduced.
- Extenuating Circumstances: If there are extenuating circumstances in your case, such as a substance abuse addiction or mental health issue, it may be possible to get you the treatment you need instead of jail or prison time. Other types of extenuating circumstances may lead to your charge being dismissed or reduced.
How an Illinois Drug Defense Attorney Can Help
People accused of drug crimes often end up in trouble because of tragic circumstances, such as an addiction or a mental illness that led them down the path of drug use. They may be good, honest people who fell into the wrong circumstances, had momentary lapses of judgment — or who are innocent of the crimes of which they are accused.
Chicago drug defense lawyer Michael O’Meara works closely with people accused of crimes to address the charges and arrive at a resolution that allows you to move onto the next chapter of your life, whether that’s an acquittal or a dismissal, or presenting facts and arguments why you deserve leniency.
O’Meara has the knowledge, insight, and skills to defend against a variety of Illinois drug charges. He has two decades of legal experience, including both prosecuting and defending criminal charges, which gives him the ability to take all facets of a case into consideration and craft a defense strategy designed to get you the best possible result.
If you are facing a Chicago drug charge, it is imperative to talk with a skilled attorney who can help you understand the charges and develop a strong defense. Contact O’Meara Law LLC at 312-909-0706 for a free consultation today.