Charges and Convictions for Possession of a Controlled Substance

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Under Illinois law , the penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance or PCS, are laid out under: Act 720 ILCS 570/1 et seq. Possession of drugs can either be a misdemeanor or felony. Possession of cannabis (known as marijuana) is usually a misdemeanor offense. A misdemeanor offense is punishable by no more than one year in jail.

However, possession of a controlled substance is usually a felony criminal offense. The sentence for a felony offense is one year or more of incarceration. For example, a typical possession of a controlled substance charge, such as cocaine would be a Class 4 felony.

All controlled substances are classified by the Act are either Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III or Schedule IV substances.

A Schedule I controlled substance is defined as:

1) has high potential for abuse; and

2) has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or lacks accepted safety for use in treatment under medical supervision.

The following drugs are considered Schedule I controlled substances:

  • cocaine
  • methamphetamine
  • heroin
  • ecstasy
  • psychedelic mushrooms
  • LSD
  • peyote

Generally, all recreational drugs (drugs with no accepted medical use) are considered Schedule I controlled substances. The possession of cocaine makes up about 80% of all possession of controlled substance cases.

The other types of controlled substances, Schedule II, III, and IV, are considered to have some type of accepted medical use, but still have a high potential for abuse.

Possession of cocaine or heroin is a Class 4 felony (1-3 years prison) as long as the weight of the substance is less than 15 grams. If the weight is 15 grams or more, then the offense is enhanced to a Class 1 felony (4-15 years prison).

Probation is possible for both a Class 4 and Class 1 felony, however if the defendant violates probation, which is extremely easy to do, they will be re-sentenced according to the Class they were charged with. For example, if a defendant is convicted of a Class 4 felony, and given probation, if that defendant violates probation- they could be sentenced to 1-3 years in prison. While a defendant convicted of a Class 1 felony, given probation, and violates probation- could be sentenced to 4-15 years in prison. So even though probation may be allowed for either, it is still important to try to reduce the charge to a lower class felony.

If you have any Possession charges or questions and need help, please contact our office.

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