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What should I know about heroin charges in Illinois?

The Illinois Controlled Substances Act provides a legal basis for law enforcement officers to charge people with criminal charges if they are found in possession of heroin, selling heroin, or trafficking heroin. The penalties for convictions on heroin charges are serious, even in the case of a possession charge.

What are the penalties for some heroin possession convictions?

Being in possession of less than 15 grams of heroin has a prison term of one to three years or a fine of up to $25,000. The more heroin a person possesses, the more severe the penalty. For example, having 15 to 99 grams of heroin in your possession carries a mandatory sentence of four to 15 years.

Are charge enhancements possible?

It is possible to have enhancements on heroin charges. If you are within 1,000 feet of a school, for example, the charges you face are automatically a Class Y felony. Enhanced charges are also possible for selling heroin to a minor and selling it near a truck stop or safety rest.

Is drug court possible for a heroin case?

In some cases, drug court might be possible for a heroin case. Determining eligibility early in your defense might help you to either include this as a possible defense strategy or rule it out. If you are accepted into drug court, you will go through a strict rehabilitation program under the court's supervision.

With the harsh penalties associated with heroin convictions, you can understand why getting started on a defense as early in the process as possible is vital. Don't wait until the last minute to try to build a defense against a heroin charge.

Source: FindLaw, "Illinois Heroin Laws," accessed Sep. 29, 2015

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