Possession of Methamphetamine

The use of methamphetamine, more commonly referred to as meth or crystal meth, has increased across Illinois. People of all ages have been introduced to this drug and have become addicted, which leads people to make poor decisions and put their lives and freedom in danger. While federal and state law enforcement are focused on stopping the manufacturing, sale, and possession of meth, the individuals sucked into using this drug need help. However, if someone is caught possessing some amount of methamphetamine, they face serious consequences that might not include treatment.

If you’ve been charged with possessing meth or a substance that contains methamphetamine, call the experienced Chicago drug crimes attorneys of O’Meara Law at 312-909-0706 right away.

Possession of Methamphetamine Offense

The Illinois Methamphetamine Control and Community Protection Act governs numerous crimes surrounding the manufacturing, trafficking, and possession of methamphetamine in the state. Meth is a Schedule II controlled substance under state law, making it illegal to have, buy, or sell in any amount.

Section 60 of the Act specifically states it is unlawful for any person to knowingly possess methamphetamine or any substance containing meth.

If you were charged with possessing meth, your case may come down to the meaning of to “knowingly possess.” Possessing methamphetamine doesn’t necessarily mean you have it in your hand or pocket at the time of the arrest. It doesn’t have to be on your person, but the meth must be somewhat within your control at the time. Having meth in your home or vehicle could equate to possession.

Illinois law often uses this term, which may not be as clear-cut as you’d think. The Illinois Criminal Code states “a person knows, acts knowingly, or with knowledge of the nature or attendant circumstances of his or her conduct… when he or she is consciously aware that his or her conduct is of that nature” of the crime or that the circumstances of the crime exist. Also, knowledge of a material fact includes awareness of the significant probability that the fact exists. A jury could find that you knew you possessed methamphetamine if you were aware of a material fact that made it highly likely you had meth on your person, in your vehicle, or on your property.

Statutory Consequences for Meth Possession

The legal consequences of knowingly possessing methamphetamine or a substance that contains meth are based on the amount you had at the time of the arrest.

  • Less than 5 grams: A Class 3 felony punishable by 2 to 5 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. Probation or conditional discharge cannot exceed 30 months.
  • Between 5 and 15 grams: A Class 2 felony subject to 3 to 7 years in prison with a fine up to $25,000. Probation or conditional discharge cannot be more than 4 years.
  • Between 15 and 100 grams: A Class 1 felony punishable by 4 to 15 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. Probation or conditional discharge cannot exceed 4 years.
  • Between 100 and 400 grams: A Class X felony subject to at least 6 years but up to 30 years imprisonment and a fine up to $100,000.
  • Between 400 and 900 grams: A Class X felony punishable by 8 to 40 years in prison and a fine up to $200,000.
  • More than 900 grams: A Class X felony punishable by 10 to 50 years in prison and a fine up to $300,000.

Each offense allows for a minimum sentence and probation, which is why it is crucial to have an experienced drug crimes defense attorney by your side. Your lawyer can help negotiate a plea with a lower sentence or can argue for minimum sentencing upon conviction.

Collateral Consequences

In addition to prison and a fine, you will now have a permanent criminal record with a felony on it. Felony convictions can lead to:

  • Ineligibility for federal student loans
  • Difficulty finding affordable, safe rental housing
  • Loss of or inability to obtain a professional license
  • Difficulty finding a job
  • Loss or reduction in child custody or visitation rights
  • Loss of visa or green card
  • Denial of citizenship application
  • Loss of voting rights during incarceration
  • Loss of firearm ownership rights

Call a Chicago Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer for Help

It’s difficult to face any drug charge. You may need help to beat your addiction or there could have been a mistake and the meth was never yours. You are likely scared that there’s a chance you’ll be sentenced to prison despite your innocence. Whatever your circumstances, you deserve an attorney who will aggressively represent your rights and best interests in court. By contacting the criminal defense lawyers of O’Meara Law at 312-909-0706 you gain this type of tenacious representation.

Michael O’Meara has more than two decades of experience as an attorney. He worked as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney, so he has both prosecutorial and defense attorney experience. He understands the law from both sides of the courtroom, giving him an advantage in building you a strong defense.