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drug court, Wheaton criminal defense attorneyIf you have been accused of a drug crime, be it possession, intent to distribute, or delivery/sale, you might already know that drug crimes in Illinois are taken very seriously, and the consequences can be severe. However, with the federal government rolling back arrest records and jail time for drug charges through such legislation as the FIRST STEP Act, the focus has shifted toward alternative sentencing for those accused of drug crimes. One of these alternatives is drug court. Here in DuPage County, drug court is common due to its usefulness.

What Is the DuPage County Drug Court?

DuPage County Drug Court is an alternative option for dealing with drug charges. It enables the accused the opportunity to take on their drug addiction and become more productive members of society without flooding the court system and prisons with too many people accused of drug charges. In DuPage County Drug Court, those charged with drug crimes can graduate from a three-phase program that helps them detox and eventually recover from their drug addiction, which in turn will reduce the likelihood of them appearing before a judge again for similar drug charges. Drug Court is not for everyone, as those who are accused of sale or intent to distribute might not have addiction issues, but this alternative to traditional drug charge penalties is still quite beneficial to eligible candidates.

What Are the Benefits of Drug Court?

There are many benefits to drug court relative to other more traditional ways the justice system handles drug charges, namely:

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What Are the Consequences of Illegally Possessing Prescription Drugs?With rising awareness of the potential abuse of prescription drugs, Illinois lawmakers have cracked down on the illegal possession and distribution of these drugs. Prescription painkillers and amphetamines can be as addictive as the well-known illegal drugs but are more readily available to some people because of their legal uses. A prescription drug charge in Illinois is a felony offense, and a conviction may result in mandatory prison time. With the right criminal defense lawyer, you can contest the charge and prevent severe consequences.

What Are Criminal Offenses Related to Prescription Drugs?

Prescription drugs are controlled substances, and it is illegal to possess, distribute, or manufacture them without authorization. Ways that someone can violate the prescription drug laws include:

  • Possessing a controlled substance without a prescription from a doctor
  • Possessing a greater amount of a controlled substance than is authorized by a prescription
  • Creating a false prescription in order to obtain a controlled substance
  • Visiting multiple doctors in order to obtain multiple prescriptions
  • Lying to a doctor in order to receive a prescription
  • Sharing a controlled substance with others
  • Writing a prescription as a doctor for a non-medical purpose

A criminal charge related to prescription drugs can be anywhere from a Class 4 felony to a Class X felony, depending on the amount you possessed, how you obtained them, and whether you were distributing them to others. A Class 4 felony conviction can result in one-to-three years in prison and a fine of as much as $25,000. A Class X felony conviction can result in a minimum of six years in prison.

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Federal Drug Convictions Come With Harsher PenaltiesU.S. Attorney General Jess Sessions recently instructed federal prosecutors to use the maximum charges in drug cases. If prosecutors follow through on the mandate, it will further illustrate how federal drug charges can have greater consequences for defendants than state drug charges. While both Illinois and federal drug convictions can result in prison sentences, federal laws require mandatory prison time for many convictions.

Illinois Laws

Punishments for drug convictions in Illinois vary, depending on the substance, the quantity and whether there was an intent to deliver:

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Illinois drug crimes defense lawyerAccording to statistics, over 43,000 Americans die from a drug overdose each year. Many of these deaths involve opioid drugs, such as heroin, OxyContin, and hydrocodone. More specifically, Illinois saw over 1,300 heroine and prescription drug overdose deaths in 2012 alone. A large percentage of these deaths could have been prevented, had those with the person not been in fear of criminal charges for drug possession.

Thankfully, Illinois had implemented a policy that provides limited immunity to those who call for emergency medical treatment for a person who has overdosed. What do these laws look like, and how do you know if they apply to your situation? The following information may help.

Understanding the Illinois Immunity Law

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