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Possessing Party Drugs Has Serious Criminal Penalties

Posted on in Drug Crimes

Possessing Party Drugs Has Serious Criminal PenaltiesHalloween is one of the most popular party nights of the year for young adults. Before you attend this year’s bash, you should be aware of the possible criminal consequences of being caught with illegal drugs. Possession of party drugs such as hallucinogens is a felony that could result in prison for a first offense. Even if you keep yourself clean, you risk arrest by associating with people who have the drugs.

Legal Penalties

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency classifies party drugs, such as ecstasy or LSD, as Schedule 1 drugs, meaning that they have a high potential for abuse and no approved medical use. Illinois’ criminal penalties for possession of a party drug become more severe depending on how many doses you possessed:

  • Possessing 15 or fewer doses is a class 4 felony, with a possible prison sentence of 1 to 3 years;
  • Possessing 16 to 200 doses is a class 1 felony, with a minimum of 4 years and a maximum of 15 years in prison; and
  • Possessing more than 200 doses is still a class 1 felony, but the minimum and maximum prison sentences increase.

Law enforcement considers party drugs to be particularly dangerous because users often do not know what ingredients are in the drug. Combining the drugs with alcohol consumption can increase the health risk for users. Some people use party drugs to sedate victims in cases of sexual assault.

Potential Defenses

The most common defenses against a charge of possessing a party drug are that:

  • You were unaware of the drugs; or
  • The police officer found the drugs by conducting an illegal search.

Prosecutors must prove that you knowingly possessed the drugs, whether they belonged to or you were holding them for someone else. However, an officer may assume you were aware of the drugs if you were in a vehicle with someone who had them. You will need to provide a reasonable explanation for why you were unaware of the drugs despite being in close proximity to them.

Even if an officer catches you with the drugs, it is inadmissible as evidence if he or she did not have a warrant to search your premises. In the case of a vehicle stop, the officer must have probable cause that you violated the law before pulling you over and reasonable suspicion of wrong-doing before searching your vehicle.

Fighting Your Charges

The penalties for a drug possession conviction can be frightening, but a skilled defense lawyer can defeat the charge or negotiate a reduced punishment. A McHenry County criminal defense attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can identify defense strategies in your drug case. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

Source: 

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=072005700HArt.+IV&ActID=1941&ChapterID=53&SeqStart=5200000&SeqEnd=7900000

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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