What To Do If You’re Arrested on Illinois Drug Charges
Being arrested isn’t something on most people’s to-do list, which is why a majority of folks find themselves without any idea of what to do in the event they are arrested – especially for something as serious as drug crimes.
Illinois may have made marijuana legal, but rest assured there are still plenty of ways to find yourself being read your rights in relation to drugs in the state.
Here’s what you need to know about current Illinois drug laws and what you should do if you are arrested under the suspicion that you’ve violated drug laws in the state.
Drug Possession in Illinois
The crime most people are charged with in relation to drugs is drug possession. Illinois has a Controlled Substance Act that criminalizes knowingly possessing, delivering, or manufacturing controlled substances.
Drug possession crimes in Illinois are divided into felonies and misdemeanors. Drug felonies have five separate classes which are:
- Class X
- Class 1
- Class 2
- Class 3
- Class 4
Drug possession cannot be a Class X felony, but it can be a Class 1 or higher.
Misdemeanors are divided into three separate classes. They are:
- Class A
- Class B
- Class C
For felonies, you can serve as little as four years or all the way up to 50. The type of controlled substance in your possession and amount have an impact on your sentencing if found guilty. For misdemeanors, you can spend anywhere from 30 days to two years behind bars. Again, it depends on the type and amount of the controlled substance in your possession at the time of the arrest.
What To Do If You’re Arrested
There are certain factors you should try to keep in mind if you are placed under arrest and suspected of drug possession. This is a basic rundown of what you need to remember:
It is in your best interest to never resist the police when you’re placed under arrest. This will only cause more legal problems for you down the road.
When you are arrested, remember to stay calm. Try not to get too emotional or excited. Instead, simply breathe deeply. Any outburst, even one that isn’t out of anger, can shock the cops and cause them to react in a way that could hurt you – and perhaps even end in additional charges.
Also, don’t attempt to threaten or bribe the police. It won’t work and can cause even more trouble.
Don’t Say Anything
Remember, any words you say can be used against you. So, except for identifying information such as your name, you should otherwise refrain from making any comments to the police, no matter what they say. If the police ask you questions, tell them you don’t want to talk until your attorney is present.
This also applies to writing. Never write down anything related to your case. If you are asked to sign a document, don’t sign it. Wait until your lawyer can look it over for you.
It will be to your benefit to politely decline the police’s request to answer questions. If you get on their bad side for being rude, that can make things more difficult for you.
Call an Attorney
You’re not alone in this. You need to call an attorney as soon as you get to the police station. If you don’t already have a lawyer, call a friend or family member who can find one for you.
Request Bail at Your Court Hearing
When you go before the judge for your first hearing, make sure to request bail. You don’t want to sit in jail throughout your court case, after all, so this is an important way to advocate for yourself. If your bail request is denied, then make sure to speak with your lawyer.
Learn About Your Charges
You cannot be kept in jail unless you are charged with a crime, so make sure to pay attention at the first court hearing as they read the charges that have been filed against you. This is also the time when you enter a plea.
Your lawyer can help to guide you through this and help you to understand if you’re being charged with a felony or misdemeanor. Remember, felonies are much more severe than misdemeanors. Whichever charge you are given, understand fully what the charge is and why it was given.
Always work with your attorney for the best outcome in your case. Be honest with them about what happened so they can try to help you create the best defense possible on your behalf.
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 in 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.