exchanging pills for moneyThis is the next article in my series on the topic of dealing with Class “2” felony charges in Peoria and other central Illinois areas. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible if you or a loved one have been arrested. It is important that you speak with counsel immediately so that they may take steps to protect your interests. In this article I will specifically discuss the handling of drug trafficking charges which fall under a Class “2” felony designation. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Possessing cocaine or heroin with the intent to distribute will result in Class “2” felony charges

Illinois will charge a defendant with a Class “2” felony if they knowingly possess less than one ounce of heroin, cocaine, or certain other substances with the intent of distributing them. A conviction can result in three to seven years in prison in addition to fines. If the defendant possesses more than one ounce of such substances, or if they are a repeat offender, then they will face more severe charges. Also, a defendant may face additional criminal counts if the possession of the narcotics occurred in conjunction with other criminal conduct (such as illegally possessing a gun). Both prosecutors and judges take such matters quite seriously and it will be important to mount as strong a defense as possible.

Defending against drug trafficking charges in Peoria and other central Illinois areas

The possibility of defending against drug trafficking charges often hinges on the presence of search and seizure issues or actual knowledge of the defendant. I will discuss each of these issues in turn.

First, a defendant may be able to claim that law enforcement found the narcotics through an illegal search and seizure. Under the Fourth Amendment, the police may not stop an individual unless they have “reasonable suspicion” that the person is engaging in criminal activity. If the police stop a person, without having this requisite suspicion, then any evidence which they uncover can potentially be excluded from the Court’s proceedings. Depending on the facts of the case, and the nature of the charges, then exclusion of the narcotics can result in a dismissal. Search and seizure issues present a highly complicated area of law and it is important to retain an attorney who is experienced in handling such matters.

Second, there are instances in which an individual may be caught with narcotics which they do not know are in their possession. This, for example, can include an individual who is pulled over while driving a car which belongs to someone else. If the police find narcotics in the trunk or glove box then, for obvious reasons, there is a possibility that the driver did not know they were there. Whether or not the defendant actually had knowledge of the narcotics will be an issue for the jury to decide.

If you or a family member have been arrested for drug trafficking then contact my office today to speak with a Peoria criminal defense lawyer. I am a former prosecutor who devotes his practice to protecting the rights of the accused. I understand that this is a serious time in your life and my office will give your case the attention it deserves. Contact us online or by telephone to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to speaking with you. I also serve the counties of Fulton, Knox, LaSalle, Marshall, Mason, McLean, Putnam, Rock Island, Schuyler, Stark, Tazewell, and Woodford.