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Chicago Criminal Defense Blog

What to do if you are facing drug charges

If you have been charged with possession or delivery of cocaine in Illinois, you may be facing harsh penalties including fines, jail or prison time, community service and a felony conviction. The consequences of a drug charge can also have long-term effects on your career even after you have served your sentence.

An attorney can potentially review the evidence in your case and work to get you the best outcome possible. The police may have conducted an unlawful search in your case, which could result in getting some of the evidence thrown out. There are cases where an improperly obtained warrant makes all evidence that was found inadmissible in court. In some cases, this may even result in dismissal of all charges.

Texas men convicted of cocaine trafficking in Myrtle Beach

Illinois readers may be interested to learn that two Texas men have been convicted of running a major drug-trafficking operation out of South Carolina. As a result, they could each be sentenced to life in prison.

A 12-person jury unanimously found the defendants, ages 23 and 30, guilty of conspiracy to distribute over 5 kilograms of cocaine. During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that the pair rented a room at an expensive beachfront resort in Myrtle Beach and used that room to distribute over 50 kilograms of cocaine between January and November 2017. Most of the drugs were stored in modest residential homes in the Fayetteville, North Carolina area. Inside the houses, armed men guarded the cocaine and sold it to other drug dealers. Some of those dealers reportedly traveled from as far away as Washington, D.C..

Identity theft cases can involve federal crimes

As an increasing number of people in Illinois rely on digital identity information for their daily lives and financial management, allegations of identity theft have become more common. In many instances, identity theft cases are investigated at the federal level, especially as computer fraud is often associated with these charges. Identity theft can encompass a wide range of accusations; it can refer to email phishing attempts that seek to gain credit card or banking information, false IDs for immigration purposes or new identities for fugitives.

Identity theft cases often involve law enforcement cooperation. But local or state police agencies may work with the FBI. In 1998, Congress made it a federal crime to knowingly use someone else's identification to commit any state or federal offense. In 2004, another Congressional act established enhanced penalties for certain cases. These cases include immigration violations, theft of Social Security benefits and domestic terrorism-related offenses. People convicted of identity theft under these circumstances would receive two more years in prison, a penalty that rose to five years in terrorism cases.

Identifying a Ponzi scheme

Of the many white-collar crimes in the world today, Ponzi schemes can be especially devastating for small investors in Illinois. Many innocent people have lost substantial sums of money through this type of pyramid scheme.

Named after an unscrupulous individual named Charles Ponzi in the early part of the 20th century, the scheme revolves around a promise of a high rate of return on an investment based on recruitment of additional investors. A Ponzi scheme works on a pyramid-type structure.

Man sentenced to 35 years for drug trafficking

A 32-year-old man was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison on Sept. 11 for using trains to smuggle drugs from California to Illinois. The defendant, a California resident, oversaw an operation that transported thousands of kilograms of heroin and cocaine between the states over a six-year period.

According to authorities, the defendant directed the shipment of hundreds of packages of drugs from Los Angeles to Chicago between 2010 and 2016. He reportedly worked with an Amtrak employee to ensure the packages were not detected by law enforcement agents along the way. Once the packages arrived at Union Station in Chicago, other members of the drug ring would pick them up and stash them at various locations for eventual sale. Every so often, the defendant and other members of the ring would board commercial planes to fly cash profits back to Los Angeles. During these flights, each person would carry up to $150,000.

Drug-induced homicide targets users not dealers

Your substance abuse problem likely means you have had your share of trouble. Perhaps you have gone through rehab, faced interventions and watched the sorrowful looks on your loved one's faces as you struggled with sobriety. You may have had legal issues too if your addiction led you to make unwise choices.

Now, however, you may be facing one of the most serious situations you have had to handle. If you recently shared drugs with a friend who died from an overdose, law enforcement may be holding you criminally responsible. Illinois is not the only state that has added or rediscovered a drug-induced homicide law on the books. If police have charged you with such a crime, you have a right to be concerned about your future.

Police find drugs and bullets in suspicious vehicle

Police in Illinois say that reports of a suspicious vehicle in Joliet on the evening of Aug. 28 led to the discovery of heroin, cocaine, drug paraphernalia and a substantial quantity of 9mm handgun ammunition. A 24-year-old woman was taken into custody by officers at the scene. She was subsequently transported to a Will County detention facility on drug and weapons possession charges.

Officers who were dispatched to West Jefferson Street at about 8:00 p.m. say that they arrived at the scene to find a silver Mazda Tribute SUV with all of its doors open outside a pharmacy. A man and a woman were standing near the vehicle setting rags on fire according to the officers. This behavior and the woman's alleged erratic actions led officers to believe that she could be under the influence of narcotics. The woman is said to have denied taking drugs, but reports indicate that she told officers that heroin and drug paraphernalia were concealed inside the vehicle.

Suspect in Christmas Day killing extradited to Illinois

The U.S. Marshals Service arrested a 37-year-old man out of state in connection with the fatal shooting of a 39-year-old man in Decatur on Christmas Day 2017. Police in Macon County processed the suspect, who remains in jail awaiting charges from the Macon County State's Attorney's Office.

The arrest warrant issued by local authorities cited preliminary charges for first-degree murder. A detective declined to share any information about the circumstances that allegedly connected the suspect to the victim. Police located the victim at a home on North 32nd Street. Emergency personnel transported him to Decatur Memorial Hospital, which recorded his death. The incident marked the 10th homicide in the city for that year.

Illinois man sentenced to 12 years for cocaine possession

On July 26, an Illinois judge sentenced a 44-year-old man to 12 years in prison for dealing cocaine from his Montgomery home. The defendant was also ordered to pay a fine of $23,000.

According to Kane County authorities, officers executed a search warrant at the defendant's home on the 1800 block of Candlelight Circle in November 2017. During the search, they uncovered around 255 grams of cocaine hidden in a backpack in a bedroom closet. The drugs had an estimated street value of approximately $23,000. They also discovered a scale, suspected drug packaging materials and $3,000 in cash.

Criminal suspect lineup reforms could reduce misidentification

Criminal cases in Illinois sometimes depend on testimony from witnesses. Although people tend to believe witnesses who identify suspects, this information is potentially unreliable. The Innocence Project, which helps people wrongfully convicted of killings and sex crimes gain their release with DNA evidence, reported that 71 percent of 350 exoneration cases involved witnesses who had identified the wrong people. A reform, known as a double-blind lineup, has begun to take hold in the law enforcement community because the new approach reduces the possibility of people misidentifying suspects.

Witnesses often take their cues from the body language of police investigators when they view a lineup of suspects or photographs. Police who have their suspicions about a specific person might encourage a witness to select that person. In a double-blind lineup, the person conducting the session will not have knowledge of who the suspect is. This will eliminate the chance of a witness being led to make a certain choice. An investigator should also tell a witness that the suspect might not even be present. This way a witness might not feel pressure to pick someone despite uncertainty.

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DMC - Law Offices of Damon M. Cheronis

Law Offices of Damon M. Cheronis
140 S. Dearborn Suite 411
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Chicago, IL 60603

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