What Counts as Drug Paraphernalia in IL?
While marijuana may be legal in Illinois and some small amounts of other controlled substances have been decriminalized, many drugs are still illegal to possess in Illinois. The paraphernalia associated with these substances is illegal and can lead to criminal charges.
Getting charged with possession of crime paraphernalia in Illinois can be quite serious. You may have to pay fines, be incarcerated, and get a criminal record that will follow you for life. Yet many people don’t understand that having something on your person used to take or make a controlled substance is a crime.
Here is what you need to know about drug paraphernalia in Illinois, including what types of items are considered paraphernalia and the consequences you can face if convicted.
Illinois Drug Paraphernalia: What Is It?
Perhaps one of the most important things you can understand is Illinois considers drug paraphernalia. Under the state’s Drug Paraphernalia Control Act, any equipment or material used to make, process, package, store, test, hide, or use controlled substances are considered drug paraphernalia.
There are certain items identified under the law as drug paraphernalia, including:
- Carburetion tubes
- Anything that can be used to dilute or cut controlled substances
This is not an all-inclusive list. It’s meant to demonstrate the items often considered paraphernalia. However, other items, such as plastic bags or scales, can also be considered drug paraphernalia in certain circumstances.
What Penalties Can Be Imposed in IL?
If you get charged with possession of drug paraphernalia, it’s typically a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. That can result in fines of as much as $2,500 and up to 12 months behind bars. In some situations, the charges against you can be considered felonies, but that’s usually if the police believe you were in possession of the paraphernalia for drug trafficking purposes.
In that case, drug trafficking charges based on possessing paraphernalia can be considered a Class 4 felony. If convicted, you can face up to three years of incarceration and fines of as much as $25,000.
If you are over 18 and you’ve been found guilty of selling drugs to a minor, it is a Class 3 felony, punishable by as many as five years in prison and fines. This is why you need an attorney to represent you, even if you feel a drug paraphernalia charge isn’t a big deal.
How to Defend Yourself Against IL Drug Paraphernalia Charges
If you get charged with a crime that includes drug paraphernalia, contact an attorney immediately. They can work with you to create a robust defense to the charges that show the court that the items in your possession were not used illegally – or weren’t yours to begin with.
Drug paraphernalia charges are serious, and it’s vital to understand the charges against you and your rights in the situation. If you believe you were searched illegally or stopped without probable cause, you must let your attorney know so they can protect your rights.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.