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What is the penalty for cocaine possession in Illinois?

by Robert Kerr

Like many states and under federal law, possession of cocaine in Illinois is charged as a felony. Though penalties for possession of cocaine, as opposed to the trafficking or sale of cocaine, are not as great, aggravating factors like weight and/or prior offenses can escalate the severity of punishment greatly.

Possession can be defined in one of two ways: actual and constructive. Actual is the most commonly understood form of possession. Actual means having actual physical custody of the cocaine; this could be on your body, in your wallet, or in your jacket. Constructive possession is less understood, but is applied in cases where cocaine might be found in a house you own and to which only you have access. You don’t have to have the drugs on you to be charged with possession.

If you are charged with possession, you do face some stiff penalties. If you are found with less than 15 grams, it’s a Class 4 felony and punishable by one to three years in prison. Being caught with between 15-99 grams escalates to a Class 1 felony and comes with it a mandatory prison time of between 4 and 15 years. Caught with between 100-399 grams? That will get you a mandatory 8-40 years; more than 900 grams comes with a whopping 10-50 years. Of course, the cost of a charge of cocaine possession is greater than just the prison time alone. Penalties may also include fines of up to $200,000, again depending on the amount of cocaine in question.

Getting in touch with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately could minimize the severity of your penalties, especially if this is your first offense.

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