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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook Country Felony Prosecutor

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Yes, There Are Mandatory Minimums for Drug Trafficking in Illinois

Generally, mandatory minimums are associated with federal courts. However, Illinois state courts also impose mandatory minimum sentencing for drug trafficking convictions.

Mandatory minimums are controversial, as judges are forced to impose a minimum sentence for a particular set of crimes (in this case drug trafficking), which is typically quite severe.

These minimums are imposed regardless of the defendant’s criminal history, and any mitigating circumstances surrounding the offense.

Many times, judges don’t agree with these sentencing guidelines but are required to impose them anyway. This often results in unjust sentencing and overloading prisons with nonviolent drug offenders.

For this reason, mandatory minimum sentences are currently under reform in federal and state courts, including Illinois. If passed, pending legislation could give judges a small amount of discretion in certain cases.

For now, expect that Illinois drug trafficking crimes will be met with mandatory minimum sentences. In an effort to educate you before you need to know, today’s post covers how drug trafficking laws work in Illinois, and the prison term you could face if convicted.

How Illinois Drug Trafficking Laws Work

In Illinois, the charge of drug trafficking applies when the defendant is involved in the import or export of controlled substances into or out of Illinois. To find the defendant guilty of drug trafficking, the prosecution must be able to prove that the defendant:

  • Knowingly
  • Bought or arranged transport of
  • A controlled substance
  • Into or out of Illinois

A controlled substance is either an illegal narcotic such as heroin or cocaine, or a controlled prescription medication possessed by the defendant without a legal prescription.

Illinois Drug Trafficking Mandatory Minimums

If a defendant is convicted of drug trafficking in Illinois, the judge is required by the Illinois Controlled Substance Trafficking Act to sentence the defendant to a prison term within these guidelines:

  • No less than twice the minimum
  • No more than twice the maximum

Class X Felonies

In Illinois, the below drug trafficking offenses are prosecuted as Class X felonies, the most severe class of felony other than murder. You can expect the following prison terms.

Heroin | Fentanyl | Morphine | Cocaine

  • 15-100 grams: 60-30 years
  • 100-400 grams: 9-40 years
  • 400-900 grams: 12-50 years
  • 900+ grams: 15-60 years

Peyote | Barbiturates | Amphetamines

  • 200+ grams: 6-30 years

PCP | Ketamine | Other Scheduled I and II drugs

  • 30+ grams: 6-30 years

Marijuana

  • 5+ kg: 6-30 years

Class 1 Felonies

Trafficking the substances below in the indicated amounts is considered a Class 1 felony, punishable by the specified sentence.

Heroin | Fentanyl | Morphine | Cocaine

  • 1-15 grams: 4-15 years

Peyote | Barbiturates | Amphetamines

  • 50-200 grams: 4-15 years

PCP | Ketamine | Other Scheduled I and II drugs

  • 10-30 grams: 4-15 years

Marijuana

  • 2-5 kg: 4-15 years

Class 2 Felonies

Trafficking the controlled substances below in amounts outlined is considered a Class 2 felony, and each carries the prison terms indicated.

Heroin | Fentanyl | Morphine | Cocaine

  • < 1 gram: 3-7 years

Peyote | Barbiturates | Amphetamines

  • <50 grams: 3-7 years

PCP | Ketamine | Other Scheduled I and II drugs

  • <10 grams: 3-7 years

Marijuana

  • 500-2,000 grams: 3-7 years

Class 3 Felonies

Those Illinois drug trafficking offenses in this section are considered a Class 3 felony can land you 2-5 years imprisonment.

  • Schedule III, IV and V drugs
  • Marijuana, 30-500 grams

Chicago Drug Lawyer

Illinois, situated in the heart of the Midwest and the country, is undeniably a major hub for drug trafficking. This has created a situation where apprehending drug traffickers here is a major priority for both state and federal law enforcement.

Don’t get caught up in the mix. If you do, fight back proactively with an experienced Illinois criminal drug trafficking defense team to beat the charges against you.

 

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.

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