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Defense Strategies for Criminal Charges Related to Possession of Heroin or Cocaine

 Posted on March 31, 2021 in Drugs and Narcotics

drugs_20210331-223128_1.jpgIn Illinois, the criminal consequences for possession of illicit substances vary significantly by the type and quantity of the drug. Possession of cocaine or heroin are felony offenses punishable by several years to several decades in prison. The greater the quantity of the substances allegedly in your possession, the harsher the penalties. Second or subsequent offenses and cases involving certain aggravating factors such as possession near a school are penalized more heavily. Criminal charges for possession of an illicit substance have the potential to dramatically impact your life. If you have been arrested for possession of heroin or cocaine, it is crucial to assert your rights and build a strong defense against the drug possession charges.

Drugs Were Discovered During an Illegal Search and Seizure

Many drug-related arrests are the result of law enforcement officers searching an individual’s personal property. The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects citizens’ privacy and prohibits “unreasonable” search and seizure of property. Typically, to search a person or his or her property, a police officer must have:

  • Verbal consent from the property owner/occupier or the person being searched
  • A valid search warrant
  • A valid arrest warrant
  • “Probable cause” to believe that criminal activity is occurring

Police cannot simply stop and search someone without a valid reason for doing so. If evidence including drugs or drug paraphernalia is discovered by police during an unlawful search and seizure, that evidence may be inadmissible during any subsequent criminal proceedings. If key evidence in a criminal case was acquired through an unjustified search, the case may be dismissed entirely.

Drugs Do Not Belong to the Person Being Charged with Possession

There are two types of possession under Illinois law. Actual possession refers to possession of drugs in a pocket, purse, backpack, or on your person. Constructive possession refers to a situation in which drugs were found in your home, vehicle, or other property. The prosecution must prove that you knowingly possessed the substances in question. This is much harder to accomplish with constructive possession. For example, if drugs were found in your home but you live with several other people, the prosecution may have a difficult time proving that the drugs belonged to you.

Criminal cases are held to the highest possible standard of proof. Prosecutors must prove the required elements “beyond a reasonable doubt.” An experienced criminal defense lawyer may use several different strategies to create reasonable doubt as to your guilt.

Contact a Cook County Drug Possession Lawyer

If you or a loved one were charged with possession of cocaine or heroin, contact Luisi Legal Group. Our skilled team of Chicago criminal defense attorneys can help you build a strong defense against the charges. Call 773-276-5541 for a confidential, free consultation.




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