Many people think of cocaine as a party drug. As such, people who use the drug recreationally may not understand how severe the possession of cocaine may be until they are facing criminal charges. In the state of Illinois, the possession of even a small amount of cocaine is a felony offense. The more cocaine in your possession, the more serious the potential penalties that you'll face. You shouldn't rely on the courts for leniency, even if it is your first offense.
Many times, drug offenders receive maximum sentences as a means of deterring others from experimenting with these banned substances. Combine that with social stigma that will make finding housing and good jobs hard, and cocaine possession can drastically alter your life.
If you or someone you love is facing criminal charges related to the possession or use of cocaine, you need the help of an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
An attorney can go over the details of your charges and arrest to determine what options you have. In some cases, you could request the dismissal of your charges if you complete voluntary substance abuse therapy. In others, you can challenge some or all of the evidence against you in court.
Illinois has steep penalties for cocaine possession
Even if all that law enforcement find is a hint of cocaine residue, you could face class 4 felony charges. Possession of any amount of cocaine for personal use, up to 15 grams, is a class 4 felony. That means you're facing a mandatory minimum of one year in prison, but as long as three years. The courts can also impose hefty fines, up to $25,000.
If you are in possession of between 15 and 100 grams, that's an even more serious felony charge. You could face between 4 and 15 years in prison, as well as a fine of as much as $200,000 if the courts convict you or you enter a guilty plea.
An attorney may be able to help you avoid those harsh penalties or at least the maximum penalties for your offense. A public defender is likely to be overworked and may not have adequate experience in criminal defense when it comes to cocaine possession. An experienced criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in your case. You shouldn't risk your future and freedom when you're facing a felony charge related to cocaine possession.