Most drug charges in Illinois are felonies; class X drug felonies are the most serious drug crimes and carry significant mandatory minimum sentences. When possession charges for different drugs are combined or combined with weapons charges, a conviction can even result in a life sentence.
Class X Felony Drug Charges
Class X felony drug charges generally refer to possession with intent to manufacture or distribute drugs. It is not necessary for the state to prove that a defendant actually intended to traffic the drugs; intent is assumed based on the quantity of possession. Even someone with no prior drug convictions or charges may be charged with a class X felony based on the amount of drugs the person allegedly possessed.
It is a class X felony to possess 15 or more grams of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, morphine, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) or any analog of these drugs. It is also a class X felony to possess 200 or more grams of most controlled substances, including but not limited to any substance containing peyote, a derivative of barbituric acid, amphetamine or any analog thereof. Additionally, possession of 30 grams or more of any substance containing pentazocine, methaqualone, phencyclidine (PCP), ketamine or any analog thereof is a class X felony.
Upon conviction of a class X felony, the defendant will be sentenced to serve prison time for a minimum of six years. Class X felony sentences for many drugs range from imprisonment for:
- Six to 30 years for possession of 15 to less than 100 grams
- Nine to 40 years for possession of 100 to less than 400 grams
- 12 to 50 years for possession of 400 to less than 900 grams
- 15 to 60 years for possession of 900 or more grams
Even first-time offenders are not eligible for probation-only sentences and will serve prison time if convicted. Class X felonies also carry a fine up to $250,000. Another penalty of up to $500,000 or the street value of the drugs may be imposed in some cases.
Those who have been charged with a class X felony drug charge should speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer to discuss what penalties they are likely to face if they plead guilty or are convicted of the specific crimes charged. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate with the prosecutor to amend the charge to a lower offense, which is punishable by probation.